As if through the lens of a social anthropologist, French’s practice examines and scrutinizes the presentation of self and the way in which society performs these rituals and patterns of behavior. This collection of recent works span charcoal and ink drawings, painting and sculpture in a minimal and reductive approach that seeks to target the core of human psychology and analysis. Particularly in the artist’s sculptural constructs, these ‘figures’ appear vulnerable, stripped back and exposed. French’s fascination with the physicality of his materials plays out in expressive and confident gestural drawings that echo the organic forms of the sculptures. His works often feature anonymous, androgynous faceless figures that inhabit a space that hovers between the figurative and abstract. The works are often emotionally ambiguous and charged, and the emphasis on raw material and simplified forms are the paradox to the societal commentary he offers on reproductions of the human image and its ubiquity and manipulation in the media. With titles such as ‘Crash and Carry’, ‘Doom Scrolling’ and ‘Reliquary’, the artist explores our obsession with image in the public domain and its impact on the human psyche, a ‘digital dysmorphia’. French’s characters appear suspended, fragmented and inert. At once a stark portrayal of the reductive nature of the digital age, contrasted with the joy of execution in the raw materials he embraces; French provides a profound pause for contemplation and a moment of clarity to explore a deeper understanding of what it is to experience the complexities and challenges of inhabiting the world we live in.
Bruce French is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in London. He continues his fine art practice alongside a successful career as a scenographer designing sets for high profile television series and prominent ballet companies across the globe. His work often forms a visual and autobiographical diary in which he records the human condition through simplified and powerful forms in oil, charcoal and sculpture.