Bruce Hixson SmithBait
My paintings are about art, which is in a constant state of flux. Modernism did away with the old attitudes and ideas about art, but now Modernism itself is over. I seek to incorporate some of the older attitudes about art and still have my work retain some of the brand new things Modern Art tried to do, including being a means of “ditching” the old. I have a real allegiance to what art was prior to Modernism, which I believes is common. What isn’t common is also having a feeling for Modernism. Art before Modernism has value today, but that Modernism has elements of worth as well. The problem is to mix those qualities.
The open-endedness of my work is certainly a Modernist trait; conversely, over the last few years, I have configured many of my paintings in ways that harken back to Italian religious works of the Renaissance. Those early multipaneled altarpieces consist of a principal central panel with secondary side and/or top panels, and a predella. The predella is a small strip of paintings which forms the lower edge of the altarpiece and usually has narrative scenes from the lives of the saints who are represented in the panels above, or a portrait of the person who commissioned the artwork. Some of my paintings have one smaller canvas below the main canvas, like an individual predella; others have a large central canvas with smaller ones above and below.