Marcus Brutus

Marcus Brutus paints a rich portrait of everyday life in America — a celebration of culture, history and humanity.

Brutus is a figurative painter who depicts scenes from daily life, both real and imagined. All the figures in his work are African American, depicting a vast breath of emotions and histories embedded in black experience.

 

Select Achievements
  • Solo show, Go to Work. Get Your Money. And Come Home. You Don’t Live There at Harper’s Books East Hampton, New York, 2019
  • Solo show, The Uhmericans at Harper’s Books, New York, 2018
  • Solo show, The Truth That Never Hurts at Harper’s Books, New York, 2020
  • Group show, I’m Made of Water at Rental Gallery, New York, 2019
© James Chororos_Avant Arte_MB_08

Brutus exaggerates reality by using vivid colour palettes and saturated tones, as well as bold contouring on the characters’ faces reminiscent of contemporary portrait artists’ such as Henry Taylor and Alice Neel. People appear in familiar environments such as at home, on holiday, and in the park, or suspended in dense abstract washes of colour that remove any notion of time or space. 

“I want to show these very contemporary issues, but show them as having some long past.”

Brutus exaggerates reality by using vivid colour palettes and saturated tones, as well as bold contouring on the characters’ faces reminiscent of contemporary portrait artists’ such as Henry Taylor and Alice Neel. People appear in familiar environments such as at home, on holiday, and in the park, or suspended in dense abstract washes of colour that remove any notion of time or space. Littered throughout his oeuvre are references pulled from across literature, film, pop-culture, music, sport, and history, infusing the work with meaning beyond the canvas. Through these symbolic snapshots, Brutus highlights the historical forces that make us who we are, both collectively and individually.

 

 

© James Chororos_Avant Arte_MB_12
© James Chororos_Avant Arte_MB_06

Shared human experience is at the centre of Brutus’ practice. Say You, Say Me (2019) is an acrylic on linen that depicts two lovers kissing. The pair sit on the floor with their legs entwined and their arms embracing, their eyes are shut and lips locked against each other. In contrast to the representational painting of the figures, the background engulfs them in swathes of pink and orange abstraction. Long, brisk brushstrokes blend the colours together, and drips of paint run down the surface to the bottom of the frame. Like sunlight, the orange and pink from the background reflect onto the clothes of the figures in light shades of mauve. There is a palpable sense of warmth in the painting from both the sun-kissed palette and the affectionate pose of the figures, which, together, tenderly expresses the universal joy of love. 

 

“To me, these are really just images of humanity. The only politics about them is the fact that I’ve uniquely used black figures. But they’re just scenes of everyday life, everyday situations.”
© James Chororos_Avant Arte_MB_09
© James Chororos_Avant Arte_MB_10

Brutus’ artwork is driven by a personal passion for history. In an ongoing process of research, the artist collects information from documentaries, newspapers and magazines, books, and the internet, spanning a vast range of time periods and topics. Brutus then pieces these disparate elements together and places them as symbols in his compositions of daily life. As a result, the paintings elucidate the lived nature of history: in the most part, history is not experienced as one phenomenal ‘moment,’ but instead, is a collection of small, seemingly inconsequential details, like, as Brutus describes, “a Trump poster on someone’s lawn, or an Obama bumper sticker on a truck.” By reconfiguring the past into familiar truths of human experience, Brutus uses his expressive painting style to relook at the world that we live in, and provide an uplifting reminder of the shared beauty and love of humanity.

 

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© James Chororos_Avant Arte_MB_05