About Zooillogicals ®
Brunsvold’s Zooillogicals ® are exuberant
paintings of animals illogically coexisting in the dreamlike jungle
of Brunsvold’s imagination. Big and small cats, birds of every
kind, snakes, elephants, and other creatures crowd Brunsvold’s
exuberant canvases, brightly occupying every ground or lurking in
the negative spaces of her intuitively imagined compositions. With
a vivid tonality inspired by Gaugin’s vision of the tropics,
Brunsvold’s creations bypass reason and communicate—by
colorful composition--directly to feeling.
manner of envisioning menageries from textures creates a whimsical,
ideal fantasy of a peaceable kingdom, with metaphorical commentary
on the human condition. In Birdlam, an array of birds hatches
from a bountiful nest in bewildering profusion.In Enchanted Evening,
a large black cat nearly embodies a night in which other cats
symbolically bear birds on their backs as in a rite of moon worship.
In Waiting II cats and birds again congregate, with the cats appearing
to watch over the cranes. Chit Chat and Limbo feature exuberant
and crowded congregations of bird species ranging from cranes
to toucans. Each of Brunsvold’s works is characterized by
a different dramatic energy, derived from the membership and number
of the grouping.
Brunsvold’s Zooillogicals® are the outcome of an evolution
in the artist’s work from abstraction to surrealism. Originally
an abstract expressionist, Brunsvold always had the ability to
perceive whimsical animals, in the texture or facture of her canvases.
Working within an abstract orthodoxy, however, and fearing that
her work would not be taken seriously in the academic context,
Brunsvold repressed her facility for drawing forth secondary images
from textured surfaces for years. Finally, in 1994, Brunsvold
decided to explore her instinctive ability to “see things”
in her preexisting work, and let the hidden images of animals
come out. Since that point, Brunsvold has devoted herself almost
entirely and joyfully to the “animalscapes” that she
sees in prepared textured surfaces.
starts each canvas or work on paper in the Zooillogicals®
series by coating the surface with a gloss acrylic medium, then,
in sequence, placing thin layers of acrylic yellow, red, and blue.
Each time a layer is applied, Brunsvold lets the color run and
drip then blots it or scrapes at it, and also may treat it with
isopropyl alcohol, to give the layer a mottled or textured surface.
Once Brunsvold arrives at the third layer, she lives with the
resulting purely polychromatic nonobjective result for a time,
in order to elicit visionary compositions of animals. She turns
the canvas upside down, and on its side, she carries it around
the house, she even considers it in different light, even in muted
pre-dawn light. By this intensive meditative process Brunsvold
gradually discerns not only animal figures individually but arrangements
of them so inspired in their complexity only a vision arising
directly from the texture of the ground can account for their
The art critic Jude Schwendenwein has remarked, “Brunsvold’s
“animalscapes” occupy an undefined space similar to
the ambiguous environments of our dreams, ripe with possibilities
for unforgettable encounters.” Brunsvold herself believes
her paintings “elicit a primal response, an immediate reaction.”
She then encourages viewers to search for hidden elements in her
art in order to restore a sense of innocence to their way of looking
at the world.