Brenton Bostwick was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area where he currently lives and works. He has studied sculpture and painting at New York University and the San Francisco Art Institute. From a young age he was drawn to the human form, studying portraiture as well as human and animal anatomy as sources of inspiration for his paintings.
Bostwick was also greatly influenced by his travels abroad. He was intrigued and deeply moved by the masterworks of the old world painters and sculptors. It was on one of these trips that he visited the Sedlec Ossuary which created a lasting, and iconic visual experience for him. The Ossuary in Sedlec, also known as the Church of All Saints, is a 13th century chapel just outside of Prague. The chapel is heavily decorated with human bones. He was in awe that the skeletons of over 30,000 people, their deaths brought on by the bubonic plague, could be transformed in to something so beautiful. The contrast between the absolute beauty and mastery of the work there, with the dark nature of the medium struck a chord.
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As his artist expressions developed over time, he became strongly driven to portray a vivid sense of beauty in the life of human and natural forms. It became a necessity to implement in subject matter and eventually in the artistic materials in to the overarching backdrop of the mortality of the vibrant cycles in life. It was the finite nature of the living form that drew out the beauty of its existence. It was within this pursuit that he began to explore sculpture as a more effective means of presenting this visual experience. The use of found wood and bone allowed him to work with the natural aspect of the organically produced living forms. This further deepened the visual contrast between the living form and the finite nature of our own construction. This allows the organic nature of the materials to dictate many aspects of the process, while still modifying each component, he maintains control within the creative process. The combination of this interplay creates a whole that is quite literally more than the sum of its parts.
As I collect each broken branch, each cast-aside bone, churned in the tide, I am confronted with the “cycling” of all things. Each piece is filled with hidden spirit, as if sleeping, waiting for the living form to re-emerge. I discover and find this beauty in each piece of bone and wood, sanding and carving them to fit together, their hidden energy exposed. This simultaneous stripping away and assembling is part of every stage of my process. I leave only the essential, then physically assemble the finished organic form. I am continually astonished as I witness these moments. My own strength and frailty become exposed as I find myself no longer looking in, but instead a living part of the ceaseless symphony of organic assemblage.