Chicago-based fine art painter Bruno A. Surdo is classically trained in drawing and oil painting in the tradition of Renaissance masters. With strong command of the human form, Surdo creates dynamic compositions of people and places that communicate a rich commentary on the world around him. Depicting trees from personal encounters, Surdo’s latest body of work entitled “Tree Spirits” takes us on a foray into the forest, where leaves, branches and burls express something deeply personal. Applying his mastery of figurative realism to the natural world, he experiments with form and texture to uncover the intangible spirits of trees.
One of the earliest works in this series, this large-scale painting entitled “Root” depicts the gnarled roots of a monumental tree Surdo discovered on a hike through the forest. A puddle of water ripples within a dark crevice and sculptural burls catch the dappled sunlight, flecked with moss and morning dew. Perfectly imperfect, beautiful yet grotesque, these roots capture the allure of untouched natural forms, marred by unusual shapes and irregular details.
Restricted to only a portion of the tree, the composition is barely recognizable as a bed of roots, an incomprehensible mass of twisting lines and sloping contours. An exploration in abstraction, the painting eschews realism in favor of texture, color, and light. Surdo achieves depth and dimension through careful placement of shadows, working instinctively to sculpt forms within forms and create areas of tension and others of calm.
Layering unexpected materials atop aggressive, freeform brushwork, he cultivates an intricate surface texture to add further contrasts of light and dark. Dirt and pumice stone simulate the rough texture of bark, while flakes of chalk catch the light like droplets of water. Pure representation of an intimate moment in nature, this microcosm of the universe invites you to pause and appreciate the small moments of beauty within your surroundings.
Acrylic on canvas.