First published: Fall 2002
Bold, brash, impulsive and unpredictable – the art of the young painter Ross Brodar is as much a reflection of the personality of its creator as it is an unwitting evocation of a time and spirit – even if, perhaps, they existed only in the imagination – that once seemed to characterize much more of the work of American artists in general and New York-based artists in particular. Mainstream artists, that is. Which might seem beside the point in any consideration of an Outsider, self- taught artist, wherever he or she might happen to live and work. But because Brodar’s art-making career has so often played itself out in opposition to the conventional, market-dominated art establishment, his sometimes pronounced, sometimes uncertain Outsider status has been and remains a central aspect of his work.
In many ways, it has shaped Brodar’s art, although an awareness of his status vis-à-vis the mainstream art establishment in New York and the United States is not essential – in fact, it may be irrelevant – to a viewer’s perception or appreciation of his work. Like countless other hard-working artists around the world, whether academically trained or self-taught, Brodar is committed to his art practice and is eager to succeed. He is aware of his Outsider status and of the particular aesthetic issues and values that come with the creative territory he occupies.