With a vibrant, graphic-novel sensibility, Brennen Cabrera’s paintings spill out towards the viewer with a confrontational force. Yet the imagery is so raw and confessional that it also feels as if we have been invited into an extremely private and privileged world.
“I am not afraid of what I express visually, explains Cabrera. “Art mostly is my voice for things I find difficult to express verbally and sometimes physically. My work mainly focuses on life, emotions, and dreams I experience as an individual with high functioning autism. My goals for many of my brutish, surreal, and provocative paintings are to spread emotional and mental health awareness, especially in people with autism and developmental disabilities. However I do believe anyone can associate with my work. I also want to inspire other artists to be bold and more personal.”
Cabrera is fearless in exposing his inner demons, and the discipline in his draughtsmenship struggles against the spontaneity that energizes the compositions. While there is a sense that the artist has given unfiltered expression to his inner self, there is also a wealth of rationality and logic in the visual relationships.
If anything, Cabrera is even more frank in the way he writes about his work. He wears his heart unabashedly on his sleeve: “Disquietude” is the breakthrough piece of my “Psychology Series.” This one sparked the inspiration to continue my emotional journey. During a strong anxiety attack, I tore a sheet of canvas off my roll, stuck it to the wall and violently smeared acrylic paint all over the raw surface. As I stood back to look at the piece I could see the shape of a face so I decided to paint a face. Then next thing I think of adding, a nude man from behind, pants around the ankles and shirt taken off. I at the time of this attack I was unhappy with my body and I was dealing a lot with sexuality and desperation.”
There is also a common use of literary references happening. “Who Can Know?” is inspired by the choral piece written by Ēriks Ešenvalds and based off the poem “Only In Sleep” by Sarah Teasdale, and
”Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is, of course, conjures the famous poem written by poet and Cabrera’s great cousin Dylan Thomas.
Currently, Cabrera’s work is exhibited alongside Herb Bradshaw, Lynn Dunbar, Claudia Hammer, Gibbs Rounsavall, and Frank Weisberg in Art in City Hall, a yearlong group exhibition that runs till August 2019.
2017 - StudioWorks, “BAFOL Arts Showcase” Louisville, KY. USA.
2017 - StudioWorks “Connecting Community Through Creativity” Louisville, KY. USA.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: High School Diploma from Waggener Traditional High School (Class of 2015)
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.
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