Cityscapes where nature has begun to reclaim dominance is a recurring theme in Brin Levinson‘s collection of paintings. Influenced by the streets of his home town in Portland, Oregon, the artist paints familiar landmarks into his work as the old buildings and water towers are manifested into a source of nostalgic inspiration. Moody atmospheric lighting completes his surreal portraits, forcing one to face a crumbling societal infrastructure in a speculative future.
Having started his creative ventures by painting urban landscapes, Levinson found his imagery to be lacking an element of life and began to add wild animals into the composites. This approach evolved organically over time, as he began to focus his artwork on the perseverance of nature, something he see as an optimistic outcome in the eventuality of this future dystopia he’s imagined. Levinson’s vivid reflections on the fragility of both the environment and our society pushes the surreal scenarios into one’s immediate reality.
Brin lives and works in Portland, Oregon, exhibiting paintings in art shows several times a year.
-From writer Simona Albani:
The air is rarefied in a suspended atmosphere; on the background made of bridges, ghost cities and industrial archeology ruins, animals wander; they are the survivors of an undefined world.
They seem not to recognize their land; they are alone, no men with them but only what men built and left.
There is a deep sense of nostalgia in their lost gazes, in their way to cruise along rivers and meadows; here the faded blue of the water and the dark brown dominate in an obsessive manner.
Levinson’s paintings are postcards of a place where time stopped, snapshots of intense drama where nature bumps into the dream of a failed progress.
Factories have been abandoned , trains still on interrupted rails, human beings disappeared, maybe run away somewhere else.
But this time has neither an end nor a beginning yet; it could be only a dream, the artist’s dream, who wants to recover through a new evaluation of the reality; a conscious vision of both blame and hope. -SA
American Art Collector magazine on Reclamation of Nowhere... Brin Levinson & Josh Keyes, two person show, Antler Gallery, Portland.
-From Tin House Magazine:
In the war between man and the natural world, it would appear, judging from Brin Levinson’s unpeopled, post-apocalyptic cityscapes, nature has won. Levinson’s worlds—washed in dour grays, ochre, and sepia brown—suggest the landscape before us is already becoming a relic. The brightest colors, the occasional burst of blue sky that breaks out from behind cloud-crowded sky, the flash of red graffiti on a rhino, pop off the canvas.
You can see the influence that Portland’s industrial areas and older architecture have had on Levinson, particularly the city’s multiple bridges—Hawthorne, the Steel Bridge, St. Johns—near which the deer and the zebra roam, while wildebeests graze in the city’s Chinatown, and beneath an underpass in a switching yard, a tagged walrus, big as a train car, appears to rest his weary flippers. With the skyline of the deserted city in the distance, an abandoned ship lists in a nearly dry riverbed, a pair of elephants posing like refugees from Noah’s Ark. There is something comic in this, as in the image of a giant white rabbit apparently about to topple a water tower. Outside of the city, dirigibles as big as whales glide past a pretty blue Victorian house, while in the foreground a gold bird, beak wide open, is either belting out a song or a warning. -Elissa Schappell
- Video about BRINK and studio visit by Cardboard Castle: