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Kees Bruin: Visions of the Real

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John C Stringer, Kees Bruin
December 2021
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Two years after graduating from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Kees Bruin was exhibiting alongside Leo Bensemann, Don Binney, Doris Lusk, Trevor Moffitt, Peter Siddell, Olivia Spencer-Bower, Grahame Sydney, Robin White, and Brent Wong. For more than five decades of dedicated painterly practice and exhibition, Kees Bruin has established a unique visionary identity within the framework of New Zealand realism that is enthusiastically commissioned and collected internationally. His three overlapping categories, photo-realism, super-realism and what he terms 'visionary-realism', sprang from a personal search for all things truth. As well as using paint to express beauty for its own sake, his clever use of symbol has gifted us exquisite panoramic landscapes, expressions of cultural pursuits such as surfing and skateboarding often imbued with metaphor, single and group portraits, reinterpretations of masters, especially the Dutch Golden Age, elaborate 'still-lifes', and works that explore elements of western Judaeo-Christian histories combined with contemporaneous fashions, settings and views to and from the earth. This personal genre launches us as art viewers into emotional odysseys of timeless human concern... spirituality, sex, betrayal, vanity, loss, life and death, the universe, beauty, and truth.