Gil Bruvel Biography
Artist. Sculptor. Creative Force. Dreamer. Visionary. Craftsman. Aesthete.
The first seven of many monikers that come to mind when considering the force of will and majesty that is contained in the work and mind of the Wimberley, Texas artist Gil Bruvel.
One of the most prolific and interesting men I know, Gil began his career in his native France as an apprentice to both his father’s cabinet making business and later, to an exclusive conservancy that taught and practiced meticulous historical art restoration. This craftsmanship and attention to fine detail, while maintaining an understanding of where his work functions in the larger picture, are the seeds of success for Gil and his beautifully organic works.
Operating seamlessly between the 3D technology that he designs with and ancient practices such as bronze casting, Gil embodies the modern Renaissance Man. He accepts that we are in a new age of modernism, but insists on aesthetic dignity in an era that embraces a staunch primitivism and minimal skill. The rampant Anti-Aestheticism and simplified palettes hold no ground for someone clearly at home with centuries of mannerism, craft and polished artisanal approaches to his visions. He is anchored in tradition and training but thinks like a revolutionary.
The different collections I have seen developed, ranging from the Flow series, the Cubist series, his functional art collection, the chess boards and his evocative paintings all embrace a sense of passionate serenity. Strong but fluid, his work has a through line that speaks to the environments he surrounds himself with, his love for the beauty of the human form and his sense of geometric experimentation. While pushing the boundaries of the expectations of formal sculpture, the work opens up the viewer’s own potential for abstract possibilities.
This organic conversation not only reflects the spirituality of a thinking artist, but one who strives to create a community of collaboration with each piece. His team of assistants, protégés, casters and friends all seem to be integrated with his process while maintaining a singular voice that could only come from Gil Bruvel himself. In this sense, I have thought of Joseph Beuys whose philosophy of teaching and ‘social sculpture’ included the culture and society from which the work emanated. Although Gil is clearly a successful modern artist, the pieces contain the hands of many, as they travel back out into the world, adorning every level of class and institution, from the collectors to group shows of emerging work to corporate sponsorship. The ability to make work that is highly valued while not compromising your personal veracity and vision carries his practice into a realm of the sublime.
I fondly recall one of the first conversations I had with Gil, at the opening of one of my exhibitions in Austin, Texas, where he asked me, with complete sincerity, “How do you make money as a conceptual artist?” We laughed as I shrugged my shoulders and admitted that I was still working on that angle. Emerging conceptual work is not always recognized by the art market at large, unless the selling points can be attached to a branded name or a movement.
Continually fearless, Gil now looks to expand his sculptural series into single editions of a more provocative nature. This is an artist not lost in his own process, but constantly in conversation with the movements and changes in the larger conversation within the contemporary art world. Underscored by both spiritual savvy and strong opinions about the visual culture he belongs to, Gil is developing a new body of work in response to the body politic and the graphics of this age of technology. Unlike the primitivism of millennial flash art, he has the advantage of true craftsmanship on his side to birth extraordinary pieces that add a new and unforeseen side of this modern master of mediums. The rise of formal aestheticism as a new avenue for bold contemporary art will be revealed in this new unique body of work from Gil Bruvel.