By MITCH TRAPHAGEN
Renowned Ruskin artist Bruce Marsh, together with longtime artistic collaborator Jeffrey Kronsnoble, opened their newest exhibit, entitled From Franklin Street to Main Street, on Friday at Clayton Galleries in Tampa.
“This represents our work from the past couple of years,” Marsh said. “I looked at this with work I’ve done 10 or 20 years ago, and I feel great about it. Things are falling into place. It feels like stuff is opening up for me, and I’m just so delighted, because I’m 76, and it seems I still have the chops. It has been a real pleasure.”
Marsh said that it has also been a sincere pleasure to be working with Kronsnoble again.
“Jeff and I have been friends since 1962 — we met each other at USF, and we’ve shared studios together and have done exhibitions together, so it’s really nice. It’s sort of like a homecoming for me,” he said.
South County residents, in particular, will recognize much of Marsh’s work that is on display in the gallery.
“Both Jeff and I are working from photographic sources,” Marsh said. “He is working in an almost ‘Old Master’ way, and I think our interests are very compatible in the level of realism and believability. I almost feel I’m painting like I’m doing documentation. I tried to be accurate and true to what I’ve been seeing.”
It is documentation in a most stunning and beautiful form. Viewing it makes one feel like being home, yet there is magic and mystery contained within each stroke of the brush.
Marsh’s work — his documentation, if you will — also will survive the ages. Despite some time consumed and difficulty in prepping the material, he paints on canvases of linen.
“It’s just a very durable and long-lasting material,” he said. “I stretch the canvas. I prime it with glue because linseed oil can rot linen, so there is a layer of glue between the canvas and the paint. So, 300 years from now, someone can peel that away from the canvas and put it on a new canvas.”
In other words, his artistic documentation of life in this place will remain long after we are gone. His work is a testament to the communities and the people who live here. And it is a beautiful testament at that.
The exhibit will run through April 12. Clayton Galleries is located at 4105 S. MacDill Ave. in Tampa. For more information, visit www.claytongalleries.net or call 813-831-3753.