Written by Michael Ashman
One way to disconnect from technology is to go camping out in the wilderness. But, in Brian Dombrowsky’s newest work, “Interface,” technology happens to already be in the forest, as a wandering bear stumbles upon a solitary laptop. This strange event of a bear staring into the glow of the screen is a moment captured by Dombrowsky that is both calm and surreal. Like many of his other works, this work sets up a little scene open to interpretation by the viewers. Often one can find a familiar story in real life from the one Dombrowsky paints. “Interface” invites the viewer to share in the moment where both nature and technology awkwardly meet for the first time.
The story of bear meets computer is indeed a bizarre one. Under the cloudy night sky a roaming brown bear happens upon a laptop setup on a stump. Somehow the computer is powered on and displays a pleasant daytime forest. Intrigued by the scene within the tiny window of the computer screen, the bear cautiously draws near. The conclusion to the story is the picture of the bear staring calmly into the simulated daytime forest environment, while the bear is actually surrounded by a real forest at night. Likewise, we are also tied to our computers looking at videos and pictures of other locations we might like to go to, while physically situated in another location.
Dombrowsky’s fine brushstrokes make the nighttime scene seem very naturalistic. He paints subtle rays of moonlight shining through transparent clouds. He adds more depth to the painting by adding fine brushstrokes to the trees, grass and bear fur. All these minor details give the painting a more naturalistic look and they make the unreal scene more believable.
“Interface” by Brian Dombrowsky is one of several of his surreal compositions of animals and man-made objects featured at Thumbprint Gallery’s “Solus Voices” group show. Two other local artists, Paul Brogden and Pamela Jaeger, are featured alongside Dombrowsky. Thumbprint Gallery is located on 920 Kline St., La Jolla. The “Solus Voices” show runs until March 3 and the gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.