Explanation of Midnight—Midnight (For T.)

Bramson, Phyllis
2008.04
Gift of Marlene and Robert McCauley

These works represent the second phase of Bramson's professional artistic career. During her first period, between 1973 and 1980, she created many mixed media doll-like sculptures with resemblances to many artists she knew personally and drawings using pastels, crayons, watercolors and collage materials. Entering into a new phase in 1980-81, her primary mode of working shifted to painting.

The figures found in Midnight developed in the late ’70s. Their dance is an erotic interaction found in many of her paintings from this era. Focusing on a centralized play between a woman and a man, the figures contort as if circus performers. In other works, the couple may be kissing while she bends over backward and he balances on balls. Her heavy mark making, drawn upon from her early works in pastels, reflect in the gestural poses of these figures. These qualities gave her work greater physicality and emotionality.

Of the Chicago tradition, with which she strongly identifies herself, she said in a 1986 artist statement, "In the broadest sense the paintings emphasize an emotion rather than reason. They are developed, perhaps, through an urbanized mentality where one can never idealize conditions, where explanations given are stories about transformation and eccentric juxtapositions."

Consistent themes run through her work in her almost 40-year career. Her colors remain vibrantly acidic. Her work has maintained its edginess and eroticism. Gender issues remain prominent.

b. 1941
1982
GA - Graphic Arts
mixed media on paper
American
30 x 36 inches