A student at the National Academy and the Art Students League in the early 1960s, Bruce Kurland paints tiny still lifes of birds, flowers, fruit, game, and contemporary debris (Budweiser beer cans, Coca Cola bottles). The consummate realism of his earlier work reflects his simultaneous fascination with Chardin, seventeenth-century Dutch still-life master Karel Fabritius, and contemporary formal issues of balance and rhythm. Since 1977 Kurland has introduced fantasy forms into his work and exchanged carefully controlled lighting effects for diffuse, surreal, often shadowless spaces. Always precariously balanced, his objects now defy gravitational laws; outlines refuse to be contained, and the descriptive realism of the earlier work has been supplanted by an overriding concern for mood.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)
Bruce Kurland began painting in the late 1950s and studied at the Art Students League and the National Academy School of Fine Arts in New York. He spent almost twenty years living a “nineteenth-century life” in Wyoming County, New York, where he was inspired by the dramatic open vistas of the countryside. His small paintings show still lifes in miniature and often include unconventional items, from wilting flowers to old bones and dead mice.