Gathering inspiration from the likes of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the European masters, Bret Shirley challenges the common distinction between art and artifact through expressive paintings and resin sculptures. Through the use of acrylic on linen, metal leaf, and copper sulfate (crystals), the artist creates silhouettes with smooth transitions of color and light.
The analog art of Bret Shirley explores a collaboration between traditional mediums and innovative reflection. His bright acrylic palette emits a mesmerizing glow from the canvas, highlighting textures underneath. The crystalline structure of copper sulfate lends a hand in generating what looks like the topography of an alien planet, compelling and unfamiliar. Shirley’s work values not only simple painted forms on canvas, but the negative space around them as well. His attention to both the nucleic and peripheral elements of his artwork rewards the viewer with a hypnotic closed ecosystem of texture, color, and light that is anything but ordinary.
Bret Shirley was born in San Jose, CA in 1980 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 2004. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, and is part of numerous private and public collections, including Texas A&M University, The Huntington Library and Gardens, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Recent exhibitions include shows at IRL Gallery in Brooklyn, Cardoza in Houston, Peripheral Space in Los Angeles, and Point of Contact Gallery at Syracuse University. Between 2018-2021 Shirley ran the gallery space and studio program BS in Houston, TX. During its run, it hosted nearly a dozen artists for subsidized studio space and programmed twelve exhibitions before closing during the COVID-19 pandemic.