Bob Branaman: Horizons
November 11, 2023 - March 2, 2024

The Mike Kelley Gallery at Beyond Baroque presents Recent paintings, drawings, and sculpture by noted artist Bob Branaman

Robert “Bob” Branaman was Beyond Baroque’s inaugural artist-in-residence from 2010-2019. In that time, he curated the exhibitions in Beyond Baroque’s Mike Kelley Gallery, presenting up to 10 shows annually, featuring a mixture of renowned and emerging artists. Branaman was born in 1933 in Wichita, Kansas. After attending Wichita State University, he joined several friends in what is now known as the “Wichita Vortex,” which took Bruce Conner, Charley Plymell, Michael McClure, and Stan Brakhage, among others, to San Francisco in the late 1950s.

Branaman, a painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and poet, cultivated a style of arranging words and images on canvas, film, and paper, and collaborated with William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, among many others. Branaman exhibited at the legendary Batman Gallery in the early 1960s and was a member of Bruce Conner’s Rat Bastard Protective Association. A raw, open eroticism runs through Branaman’s work, an insistence on wedding the sacred to the profane. Of Branaman’s 1964 show at the Batman Gallery, Dean Wallace of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Take a mad genius with brush and canvas, place him in the mythical not-yet world of William Blake, multiply him by a hundred, and you get some idea of the paintings and drawings of Robert Branaman.” Branaman later developed a series of figurative paintings described by Knute Stiles in Artforum as featuring faces “split like a half moon over a full moon, or a side view over a front face, both sharing the same eyes, nose and mouth, perhaps expressing male and female unity, or perhaps symbolizing the splitting of personality.” Branaman continues painting on a daily basis, exploring new themes and techniques.