Native Son Wired to Make Photorealistic Art | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo by Clay Schuldt Artist Bradley Donner stands next to one of his largest paintings in his gallery on display at The Grand.

NEW ULM – A new art exhibition is coming to Le Grand with the works of Bradley Donner.

The exhibition opening reception is at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 19.

The New Ulm native grew up in the Minnesota River Valley, so his artwork reflects the nature of the area.

“I have always had a love and appreciation for the natural world around me,” said Donner.

Donner said he has been creating art since he was old enough to hold a pencil, but only got serious in 2009. He now produces several paintings in a year.

His art began as a combination of photography and painting. Now he is strictly a painter, although much of his work adopts photorealistic design.

All of his paintings are based on photographs, some taken by Donner himself. He strives for precision in his work. Many of the paintings look like photos at first glance.

“I’m trying to get away from photorealism and be more abstract, but I can’t” said Donner. “It must be something about the way my brain is wired.”

He said his most abstract work is a bison painting. Due to the size of the canvas, he was forced to use larger brushes giving a larger than life perspective.

Most of Donner’s paintings are drawings of wild animals, but others depict Native Americans. Donner said he received a grant from Prairie Lakes to complete the work. These paintings are based on archival images of Native Americans, some older black and white photographs that Donner painted in color.

One of the paintings was based on a stock photo of an older brother teaching the younger brother. After completing the painting, a South Dakota woman recognized the two men as her brothers. Giving allows this woman to name the painting. She chose “The wisdom of a brother.”

This is Donner au Grand’s first comprehensive exhibition. One of his works previously hung in the gallery during a juried art exhibition, but this is the first full exhibition in his hometown.

Donner’s exhibit will be on display from August 19 to September 16.

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday.

Photo by Clay Schuldt “Comanche Fire” was inspired by Donner’s visit to Texas and learning about the Comanche people.


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