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Bragg Exhibit Ready for Opening Reception in Manhattan Beach

Feb 04, 2022 08:05AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Can you see him? Artist Charles Lynn Bragg poses in front of his "Space Race" mural at the Manhattan Beach Art Center.

With works ranging from sculpture to paintings to line drawings, the new Manhattan Beach Art Center solo exhibit by local artist Charles Lynn Bragg has something for everyone. 

The exhibit features an "immersive" element, with Bragg working on several paintings on-site. Furthermore, there are hands-on activities for art lovers of all ages, including coloring activities and a jigsaw puzzle based on Bragg's work.

"In Progress: A Mid-Career Retrospective of Charles Lynn Bragg," is free and open to the public on Wednesdays through Saturdays at the Manhattan Beach Art Center.

The art center will host an opening reception for the exhibit on Friday, February 4, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The Manhattan Beach-based Bragg, who is perhaps best known for his animal- and conservation-themed paintings, has had his work featured in art galleries, magazine covers, and jigsaw puzzles. Probably his widest distribution to date was a "Wonders of the Sea" commemorative stamp set released in 1994.

But his exploration of those themes extend across multiple art forms, including more recent sculptures that reference the earth and its environment in peril.

"As a person and as an artist, I just want to treat people, animals, and the environment with respect, compassion, and dignity - and I hope to inspire others to do the same," said Bragg.

First Bragg Solo Show in Manhattan Beach

Although Bragg's work has been featured in art shows and galleries around the world, the "In Progress" exhibit is his first solo show in Manhattan Beach.

The works featured in the exhibit represent just a few of the thousands of pieces that Bragg has created. Along with Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Manager Eilen Stewart and Cultural Arts Supervisor Eric Brinkman, he curated the exhibit to feature highlights from across the spectrum of his career.  "I have a lot of different styles and interests in my work," noted Bragg.

Notable pieces in the exhibit include a mural-sized version of "Space Race" that depicts animals racing across a planetary shadow; "Ego," a figure crouching under the weight of the giant letters ""E-G-O;" and "The Examination," a sculpture, suspended in air, of a hand with two fingers jabbing into Earth.

The exhibit is also designed to be interactive. For example, a visitor may have a chance watch Bragg work on some of his pieces throughout the exhibit; grab a colored pencil and fill in a Bragg sketch; or help piece together a Bragg-created jigsaw puzzle.

A Life In Art

Bragg, the son of well-known painter Charles Bragg, began his career in art by producing his father’s prints and eventually making his own originals. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, he created life drawings, anatomy, etching, serigraphy, lithography, painting, photography, and ceramics.

In 1986, he started a painting of a woman standing in a tropical jungle, surrounded by menacing forest animals. According to Bragg, he was frustrated with several attempts at painting a convincing figure, so he painted the woman out and filled the scene instead with dozens of animals, birds, and insects hidden about in the lush jungle foliage. He added a cityscape, complete with skyscrapers and a nuclear power plant in the background. Finally, he painted a bulldozer bearing down on the animals and plant life. He said that the title of the work naturally popped into his head: “City Limits.”

The environmental theme of “City Limits” struck a chord with Bragg and his audience. Depicting and conserving the Earth’s ecosystems became his purpose in life and art.

In the late 1980s, he began licensing his images worldwide on jigsaw puzzles, posters, tee shirts, calendars, collector plates, watches and other items.

As his work became popular in Japan, he exhibited his work there 1990 until 2003, with more than 40 one-man shows in over 20 cities there.

In 2003, Bragg turned his attention back to the human figure and for the first time began to seriously explore a latent desire to sculpt. A class in bronze casting at Otis, Los Angeles and a 6 week stone carving program in Pietra Santa, Italy amplified his interests in sculpting. In 2005, he enrolled as a full-time sculpture student at the California State University, Long Beach and received his BFA in Sculpture in 2009.

Looking ahead, he has set his focus on "going big" with monumental murals, sculptures and installations in public arenas.

Bragg had been approved to do a mural at the Joslyn Community Center in Manhattan Beach but the plans have been temporarily shut down due to COVID, and potential remodeling at Joslyn. 

In the meantime, he continues to pursue his passion for surfing (at Rosecrans Ave. in Manhattan Beach) and creating more and varied artwork to add to his collection. 

"In Progress: A Mid-Career Retrospective of Charles Lynn Bragg" will be on exhibit at the Manhattan Beach Art Center through April 3, with an opening reception on Friday, February 4, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The Manhattan Beach Art Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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