Merging of Artistic Influences: Henry Bermudez’s Sunflowers and Roses

A Philadelphia local and a longtime member of InLiquid, Henry Bermudez is never shy to bring color and audacious prints into his work. Sunflowers and Roses, which is one of the items available for bidding during InLiquid’s 2021 Benefit, brings the same bold linework and stunning colors that are synonymous with Bermudez’s work through a display of glittery roses, which serve as the background for a familiar vase of sunflowers. 

Sunflowers and Roses, Henry Bermudez

Whether or not Van Gogh had expected the cultural influence of his sunflowers (we expect he did not, given his mythologized woes and eating paint and all that), they take on new life as the central focus of Bermudez’s “Sunflowers and Roses,” which delivers exactly what the title implies, though the two flowers do not share the same vase, per se. Composed with thick strokes of oil paint and muted yellows, the sunflowers at the center of this piece are a pastiche of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” series. However, their context gives new life to the since popularized still-life. Bermudez brings his wonderfully vibrant style into the work, with glittered roses and bold linework, which give a new and magical life to an otherwise typical bouquet of sunflowers.

Bermudez has stated hopes that his work, “can transcend timelines and national boundaries as [he joins] magical dimensions of symbols with western rationality,” and the stark contrast between the Van Gogh style sunflowers and Bermudez’s own stylistically unique roses, works to represent this converging and diverging of styles. In a Warholian sort of way, this work brings together imitation and creation, representing the way art is not one single piece, but a cultural influence which embeds itself in the minds and works of other artists. This joining of western rationalities, as represented by Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, with Bermudez’s own style, charged and characterized by the cultural influence of the African Diaspora, and the merging of artistic styles in an Afro-Caribbean context, makes for not only a piece which successfully speaks to his mission, but provides a vibrant portrait of two cultures in beautiful collision. 

You can bid on Bermudez’s Sunflowers and Roses online and in-person (by appointment) at InLiquid’s 2021 Benefit from April 7th-11th!

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Kathleen Vaccaro
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