David Bruce’s vision has been blended from two parent painters, who met at an art school. His father was a Rhodes Scholar and became a contributing Oceanographer and Physicist in a career with the world-famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Artistic influence for David came from growing up in his mother’s gallery of contemporary fine art, which included her business of restoring aging paintings.
David’s childhood was a saturation of art as he grew up with significant paintings – of great value and skill - literally all around him. Maritime paintings - the likes of Buttersworth and Fitz-Hugh Lane - were at times present for cleaning and lining in the Cape Cod house constructed in the late 1700’s and moved by oxen in the 1840’s. Home was filled with the odor of solvents and drying oil paint and often life drawing classes being held in the house that drew a gathering of steady and capable painters.
David’s father had been a young left-handed illustrator, and of all students, earned the only scholarship to the art school in Ogunquit where he met his wife. “My dad stepped off his Indian motorcycle with his box of paints in 1950, encountered my mom, and the rest is history” says David. Bruce likely acquired his artistic eye during frequent trips to Provincetown Studios (home to Marin, Henchi, Packard and many other talented painters) and galleries and museums across Cape Cod - to Boston and New York.
Both sides of his ancestry represent early Americans that came to the colonies in the 1600’s. Such a background – and the accomplishments of his parents – led to acceptance in the Social Register and a confidence that fueled his becoming a Navy SEAL, a successful security business owner and now a painter. One thing that drives David to become a well-accepted painter is that his father stopped painting 45 years ago. In his mind, his dad was the finest painter of his generation, yet you will not know of him. His not continuing to paint – though he dedicated himself to science, wooden boats and the ocean – fuels David’s inspiration to keep the brush moving and complete pieces that would otherwise not be done.
Bruce’s life goal is to make a contribution to art that will be appreciated and preserved. Of his numerous career pursuits (including off-shore fishing, roughneck on gas-drilling rigs, stunt work, bounty hunting, Constable, Private Investigator, protection specialist and navy reserve officer) none are more rewarding and important than painting. David claims he is in a position to record beauty, toil, conflict and especially all the fragmented events that are poised for spectacular representation, based on the life he is happy to have experienced: Marine; Urban; Interstate; Aviation; Military; Erotica are all reasonable venues to tackle.
David was fortunate to discover his talents while completing a minor in Fine Art from University of Maryland; this was done during an enlistment as a Navy SEAL and while working in the Pentagon. He has assembled a series of over 20 paintings that pay tribute to the Interstate and roadways. For him, this realm of subject matter is an overlooked environment where bridges, trucks and turning roads create strong potential for large striking paintings. This territory – for him - has unlimited potential; subject matter can be painted in an infinite number of planes, angles and elevations, not to mention gradients of light. This series is an introductory sample of his ability and will lead to many more.
Bruce strives in his work to reveal the edge between what is merely perceived by the common eye, and to dramatize the abstract. There is a huge amount of room between how imagery can be interpreted in representational format and where Bruce takes things. Perspectives are narrowed and often highlighted in relation to the human experience. Darkness surrounds the terrain and an atmosphere of mystery often is brushed across the scene, which can send a chilling familiarity with a shared experience to that subject and site.
Bruce draws on a deep cache of stored photography, which he has taken on military trips, moments conducting surveillance and then by coincidence. He finds the studio to be a place where greater time can be devoted to rendering a feeling about a place and event. Work is carried out with American-made oil paint and usually mixed with Liquin medium. The surface of his canvases (from 30” x 20” to 96” x 48”) are distinguished by a smooth texture and are evidently structural by design and show great contrast and drama.
David has a studio on Thames Street in Newport that has a pleasant gallery-like front window. He has time to paint and has received excellent feedback from the recent series on the Interstate. Mr. Bruce has ‘an eye’ and expects he will find confirmation from others that consider his work to be worthy of fine art and collect it as so. Bruce’s paintings have been accepted in the Newport Art Museum Juried Members show two years in a row.
His paintings have sold to collectors from the Cayman Islands; Florida, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts and his completed paintings are anticipated to go to a gallery in either Washington, DC, New York, Miami or San Diego.