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Andrea Marie Breiling - If You Look Close Enough

Words:

Edd Norval
March 15, 2021

It’s not difficult to see the everyday in Andrea Marie Breiling’s abstract paintings. Combining bold, yet relatable colours in shapes that - if you squint your eyes - could resemble any number of the moments that are stitched together as a part of daily life, these paintings are like pimped-out Rorschach tests for a cosmopolitan crowd. 

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Like blurry snapshots of a life spent wandering and observing, Breiling’s paintings are both intimate and removed, exploring the axis between up close and personal, whilst contemplating on the kinetic ebb and flow of routine, habit and all associated life-forming structures. 


The physicality of life is embodied by the technique of the artist, whose use of larger canvases are a means to immerse herself in the process of creation. Developing her expressionistic strokes from an old memory of painting as a child, Breiling values the power of autobiography in her work, telling the stories and movements of observations from her own lived-in perspective. 


Progressing from thick oil to using more spraypaints, Breiling has managed to free herself from many of the common features of her artistic predecessors, whose influence is still evident, yet diminished by her will to experiment. What’s important in her use of the spray can is that it allows her to emphasise - and more honestly document - the way she navigates the painting.

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An undeniable honesty is present in the American’s works. Her paintings must be considered inextricably tied to their titles, whose poetic and lyrical (they are often lyrics) nature hints at the feelings experienced by the artist whilst building the many layers up. Seeing the finished product, with only hints of the previous layers on show, highlights the complexity and emotional depth in these pieces. 


One perpetual theme is freedom. Utilising the spray can, whose technique facilitates the very essence of the term, brings Breiling one step closer to realising this philosophical and practical concept as something physical. In her latest show, 2020’s BIG MOOD, Breiling’s latest pieces are bolder and brighter, reflecting her life in Los Angeles, where a shy kid won’t get any cookies. 


Constructing many of her paintings as if a snapshot of a kaleidoscopic vision, the representations of real-life and relatable goings-on are always there, insomuch as the abstraction has a limit - never so far removed from our familiar perceptive boundaries that the pieces halt speaking to us on a fundamentally human level.


Breiling embraced art as a child, drawing and colouring with her grandmother, and has never let it go. We associate freedom with our memories because the sharp edges of the past are always smoothed over by time. Yet, there’s also a freedom of youth, of days when rent wasn’t due and the biggest worry was missing your favourite cartoon at breakfast time. This childlike awe and freedom are all captured here, refined by an adult, without any energy loss. 

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