Bryan Putnam

Methow Valley, Washington

My cross-disciplinary artistic practice is rooted, formally and philosophically, in the act of drawing. I revel in drawing. It offers me entry to a fragmented visual experience, akin to dreaming, where form and meaning attract, compound, and transform. To me, drawing describes an action and an ethos that is not restricted to medium. Put another way, I identify as an image-maker with interdisciplinary inclinations and a multifarious output. My work moves from sheet to space as I explore how drawing, painting, and printmaking can operate in new and hybrid forms. In these explorations, I’ve found the cusp to be a territory of deep interest – that is, the soft spot between dimensions or disciplines where slippage between historic, conceptual, or perceptual boundaries begins to occur. In this way, installation, new media, and performance have become increasingly strong elements of my practice. By creating works that appear unsteady or suspended in their own transformation, I attempt to catalyze a process of negotiation in the viewer; drawing links between the physical and the nonphysical, the sensed and the seen, the imagined and the historic.

Drawing, wilderness, and narrative are essential concerns of my work. I find myself deeply inspired by the complexity, diversity, and interdependency found in systems of nature and I am interested in how narrative might be seen as one such system, although immaterial and specific to humans. I ruminate on these ideas through drawing – a primal human practice that has long served to bring material and immaterial experience into a strange colloquy. It is here that I’ve uncovered that which unifies my three areas of research: the symbiosis of perception and imagination. One leads to the other and back again as we make our way in the world.

For the past few years, my work has been dedicated to the creation of an epic tale, an idiosyncratic folk-legend that is told piece by piece. Recurring characters, such as Saul the Hunter and Hokey Bear, appear throughout this body of work as their stories are told through installation, video, painting, drawing, performance and objects/multiples. Recently, I have refocused this massive project both for the sake of clarity as well as to allow myself the creative freedom to pursue other projects. Thus, the ‘Rainier Project’ is now being re-imagined as a kind of ‘art serial’ taking form in comic books, videos, and performances that involve the use and distribution of multiples. This new direction for the project recently resulted in a solo show and the upcoming publication of ‘Bed’, my first small-run book – a chapter within the ongoing story.

Alongside this, I am building myself a cabin. Stay tuned.