Philip Buller has spent years studying such famous western art historical masters such as Della Francesca, Caravaggio and Velasquez, and their inspiration is apparent in his current work. Particularly interested in a dramatic use of contrast, Buller specialized in framing light and darkness as ideas which themselves hold meaning and reflection.
In previous works, Buller placed specific focus on a mysterious figure who looks back, drawing the viewer in the painting's internal story. Borrowing fragments of semitransparent images lifted or copied from renaissance compositions, Buller creates a plan between familiarity and disorientation. We somehow recognize the images, but are thrown by their removal from their original context, and by their studied repetition. The focus, placed so intimately on the close-up detail of the human face promises some kind of intimacy that is frustrated by the repetition and ambiguity that permeates the space.
Philip Buller: Recognition will be on view October 6 through November 19 at Andrea Schwartz Gallery, 525 2nd St., San Francisco.