New York-based artist Walter Price was not aware of the late Wisconsin artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein prior to this exhibition. But presented at MOCA together, their works, which hover between abstraction and figuration, suggest a relationship in the artists’ surreal approach to both subject and material.
Walter Price’s paintings create contradictory perspectives that seem to turn our view of the world inward and outward at the same time. Incorporating familiar forms, personal symbols, and abstract gestures amid shifting horizon lines and bright fields of color, Price’s compositions often blur the lines between collective history and individual memory. Three of Price’s seven paintings presented at MOCA suggest a figure in motion in an uncertain urban landscape, a trope relevant to Cleveland’s legacy and condition as a city in transition.
Get Out of Your Own Way (2018) and Practically on Orbit (2018) depict a central, powerful black female figure climbing as if in mid-reach. Follow the Land (2018), includes a silhouetted figure in a landscape with a sofa, a familiar symbol of domesticity that appears frequently in Price’s work.
A self-taught artist and poet, Von Breunchenhein worked in a range of non-traditional methods with diverse mediums including, painting, poetry, photography, ceramics, and sculpture. While he was most well-known for his hand-colored photographs of his wife, Von Bruenchenhein’s paintings feature subjects ranging from portraiture and landscape to fantastic images of atomic clouds and otherworldly palaces and cityscapes.
The six paintings on view here depict radiant towers- or castle-like structures, a common motif in the artist’s work. As with many of his paintings, works like Grand Haven’s Vast Complex (1978) and High Rise Winniemere Complex (1978), were described by Von Bruenchenhein as scenes from his imagination, neither fully abstract, nor painted from life. These radiant cityscapes include structures reminiscent of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower, which was built in the early decades of the 20th century, during the height of the City’s prosperity. Von Bruenchenhein’s works recall Cleveland’s identity as a city shaped by a still visible, industrial history.
Walter Price was born in 1989 in Macon, GA and is currently based in New York.
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein was born in 1910 in Marinette, WI, where he remained until his death in 1983.
Sherwin-Williams is the official paint of MOCA Cleveland.
All current exhibitions are funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Leadership Circle gifts from anonymous donors, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Becky Dunn, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Michelle and Richard Jeschelnig, Donna and Stewart Kohl, Jan Lewis, Toby Devan Lewis, and Scott Mueller.
All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.