Michael Brennan: PANDEMONIUM

An exhibition consisting of over 100 of Michael Brennan’s circus-themed paintings and portraits depicting some of the most important figures in the Bay Area art scene from artists to curators to art critics to museum curators. The exhibition also celebrates the release of a book (Norfolk Press) by the same title, documenting the full series and accompanied by several critical commentaries.

Seven years in the making , the series begins with a portrait of the artist who most strongly influenced Brennan as a young man, the Bay Area photorealist painter Robert Bechtle. Other figures in Brennan’s series include the FAMSF director Thomas Campbell, SFMOMA curator Janet Bishop and the Chronicle Books publisher Nion McEvoy.
As former SF Chronicle art critic Charles Desmarias shrewdly describes the effect in his “Pandemonium book essay, writing that “Brennan’s technical mastery … confounds, raising a middle finger to artificial distinctions between art and craft, representation and abstraction.”