Farrell Brickhouse

Big Bather Bernard, 2011, 14” x 11”, oil on canvas. FB
Self-Portrait, 1996, pencil on paper. A.B. (In my Journal # 21.)

I’ve chosen my painting “Big Bather Bernard” and its ‘buddy’ document “Andre’ Drawing-J#21”. This painting was started for an old friend around 2008. I had been working on a ‘bather” series and it had been knocking around my studio for some two years before it came together. In the ‘90’s my wife and I did foster care in NYC. Andre’ Bernard came into our home when he was around 8 years old. Like most kids he loved cartoons but Andre’ drew his to garner power to protect himself in his turbulent world. At the time I was making quasi- abstract paintings that would sometimes coagulate into expressive images. With Andre’ in our home I gravitated to an art more accessible to him and his friends and family that came to visit. Actual portraits emerged and we collaborated on several paintings. Andre’ passed away in 1996 and I had wondered what he would look like today. He was an incredibly sensual child and loved the water so he was a natural for the bather series. It was the least of the works in the studio and then having nothing to lose I let go on it. I’ve put on a few pounds these last years and it is part Andre’ as a young man and part me as his muscle man.  -Farrell Brickhouse, 2012

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