Known nationally for his sensual figurative paintings, Billy Brauer grew up in Queens, New York knowing he would be an artist. Brauer attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and was a protégé of the renowned surrealist painter Federico Castellon. His first years as an artist were spent working as an illustrator, where Brauer applied his intellect and imagination to progress in his profession. He feels he still uses the design concepts he learned as an illustrator as a painter, manipulating space and form to create a sense of tension and mystery.
In the early 1960s, Brauer became involved in printmaking, holding his first major exhibition in 1974 with the Associated American Artists, “New Talent in Printmaking’” exhibition. His work gained acclaim, and was sought after for exhibition. His work was selected for the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum and was featured in the “19th Annual Print Exhibition.” In 1976, he received an individual grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Having long harbored the desire to be a serious painter, in 1978 Brauer began to concentrate exclusively on painting. In the late eighties, his work won mounting success and has since been exhibited extensively across the United States in both solo and group exhibitions.
Brauer’s paintings are highly sensual and moody, using intense colors and a finely tuned drawing ability to beautifully render women in narrative yet mysterious scenes. In an interview with the Sunday Times Argus, Brauer says, “I love the concept of mystery. I like the idea that something is taking place off the picture plane.”
"I’ve always been able to draw but I failed high school art. They wanted me to draw tables and chairs but I was already drawing figures...so I flunked.
Thus encouraged, I went on to become a professional artist. I worked as a freelance illustrator in New York and also as a printmaker producing etchings and lithos.
I moved to Vermont in 1969 but soon the limitations of printmaking caused me to rethink my direction. I decided to begin painting, which gave me the opportunity to explore size, color, density and surface.
Going up in size also forced me to change imagery. The small and intricate forms of printmaking did not translate well to larger color pieces. As Renaissance painters did, I pursued my fascination with the human form, taking Renaissance concepts of the figure, and combining them with my contemporary design sense to create my own visions.
Formally, the paintings are about shapes next to shapes and colors next to colors. I love manipulating forms. My work draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology and motifs. I use a single light source and a shallow visual depth to create tension and dramatic light and dark patterns. I often use cast shadows, which take on their own presence, adding an air of mystery to the works. In these paintings, something else is happening, just beyond the picture plane; the viewer just gets a hint. I like to create an alluring mood in my paintings that attracts the viewer, and then give them something to hang on to."
2009 Wood Art Gallery, Vermont College, VT 2009 Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA 2007 Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA 2005 Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA 2004 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 2003 Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA 2002 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 2001 Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA 2000 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1999 Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM 1998 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1996 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1995 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA
1993 Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1991 Passepartout Gallery, Winooski, VT Kristal Gallery, Warren, VT 1990 Kristal Gallery, Warren, VT Paul Sanger Gallery, Tenafly, NJ 1982 Goddard College, Plainfield, VT The Silo Gallery, New Milford, CT 1981 Frame of Mind Gallery, Burlngton, VT 1980 Tennessee Williams Fine Art Center, Key West, FL 1977 Library Art Gallery, Lyndon State, College, Lyndon, VT
Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA Miami Museum of Art, Miami, FL
Brooklyn Museum, Permanent Collection Brooklyn, NY
2007 Art in the Round Barn, Waitsfield, VT, 2000-07 Annual Group Exhibition, Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA Revealing The Nude: A Timeless Passion, Chase Galery, Boston, MA 1998 Figure & Fantasy, Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1994 Abstraction in Reality, Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1993 Art in the Round Barn, Waitsfield, VT Chase Gallery, Boston, MA 1989 Art of Fantasy, T.W. Wood Art Gallery, Montpelier, VT 1987 Teacher/Student Relationship in Art, Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT 1985 Vermont Visual Artist’s Week 11, T.W. Wood Art Gallery, Montpelier, VT 1984 Vermont Printmaker’s Show, T. W. Wood Art Gallery, Montelier, VT
1978 Show of Gallery Artists, Pucker Safrai Gallery, Boston, MA Associated American Artists’ 43rd Annual Christmas Show, VT 1977 Exhibition of Prints & Drawings, Ellsworth Gallery, Montpelier, VT Vermont Printmakers, T.W. Wood Art Gallery, Montpelier, VT 152dn Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, NY Vermont Artist Exhibition, Traveling show 1975 Davidson Collection Exhibition, Traveling Show 1974 New Talent in Printmaking, Associated Artists Gallery, New York, NT