Call Arthur Brouthers an artist, a technician or a little of both. In his laboratory of color, the local artist mixes acrylics — taking notes and logging each and every concoction into a reference notebook that tracks what works and what doesn't. This tedious tracking and a creative drive that longs for color, texture and detail has allowed him to formulate shapes and swirls, drips and splatters that resemble something vaguely familiar — an organism, a landscape, and/or some type of unseen body of motion brought to life.
If you've seen his work, you'll remember it. His paintings pop with acrylics that are poured, layered and meticulously placed to leave a lasting impression.
You can check out his latest work, and his biggest solo exhibit to date, in Chroma, a one-day-only (though private showings are available) exhibit and reception showcasing in an empty warehouse space in South End. The exhibit will feature around 60 pieces of artwork by Brouthers, the smallest measuring in at six by six inches and the largest at eight by eight feet. (side note: if you're curious, prices also vary from $150-$22,000, but he'll also be selling limited edition prints that run lower and 50 percent of proceeds from those will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation).
For this show, Bouthers — who typically displays his work regularly in Charlotte's Sozo Gallery as well as other regional galleries like Asheville's Surface Galley and Charleston's Rebekah Jacob Gallery — wanted a larger space for showcasing and for studio purposes.
"In the past, some of the studios that I have had wouldn't allow me to fit the larger paintings through the doors once they were completed," he says. That's why when Greg Pappanastos, the president of Argos Real Estate Advisors, Inc., and an old DJ friend of Brouthers (also a former DJ), offered him a warehouse space to use as a studio temporary viewing room, Brouthers jumped at the opportunity.
The space, currently in a transition period before further development, punctuates the increasing dynamic between artists and business owners to collaborate for community benefit.
"It gives them an opportunity to kind of give back to the arts community," says Brouthers. "Now, if you approach the right person and have the right vision, I think people are becoming more open to these things."
He refers to Crescent Communities' Skyline series, which took over the defunct Goodyear Tire Center building in Uptown before its demolition, as helping to launch the changing resources for artists. But Brouthers admits that more needs to be done. He was once a starving artist, trading his paintings off for free rent. Spaces in artsy neighborhoods are rarely affordable for artists and areas outside of the urban sprawls are mostly only affordable while urban development is stagnant. That's where business partnerships and collaborations can come in handy.
At the upcoming show in South End, Brouthers has ample space to showcase his newest works, some of which have moved in a different direction.
For Chroma, some of the works make use of brighter colors (fluorescent reds and pinks) but there's also mixed media — combining painting, photography and Plexiglass — works and a video projection of his oversized 16-feet wide painting, shot while it was in the works.
"It's my idea of a breathing canvas. The purpose is to show what the paint does before its drying," says Brouthers. "I feel like it helps people relate a little better to my process, without me giving too much away, because it's a complicated process."
For his fine art pieces, acrylic paint on wood canvasses; he uses two to 10 coats of paint, causing his largest work in the exhibit to weigh in at around 250 pounds.
Though past and some current works have been inspired by rock formations, aerial views and/or a combination of the two, his newest works have been influenced by vibrations and frequencies, as well as how the brain processes color.
"A lot of this is my interpretations of how these energies can look from a different perspective," says Brouthers.