When: Through Sept. 14
Mystery is the seductress in a Bill Brauer painting. The Warren artist, who died in 2019, was known for his lush depictions of willowy women in enigmatic settings. As with French impressionist Edgar Degas a century earlier, Brauer’s muse was the graceful female form, including that of dancers — though Brauer’s women are more likely to be swept into a tango by a not-quite-seen partner. Often, however, his subjects are alone or in pairs, seeming to contemplate a narrative we can only imagine. Nude or clad in silken fabric, the women are delicately outlined in black and rendered in opalescent color. They seem real but not real, like a dream. The New York-born artist was a protégé of surrealist painter Federico Castellón, which perhaps influenced Brauer’s transcendental imagery. A mini retrospective of Brauer’s paintings and superb etchings is on view at Burlington’s Safe and Sound Gallery. As the gallery’s website explains, Brauer began his career in the 1960s as an illustrator and printmaker. By the 1980s, he had devoted himself to the rigor of oil paint and begun to exhibit extensively — and sell to private collectors — across the U.S. In a 2016 story, Brauer told Seven Days that “dumb luck” brought him to Vermont in 1968. He bought his house in Warren three years later. In his adopted state, as he maintained his own career, Brauer was a beloved teacher for more than 40 years, offering both academic and private life-drawing classes. His legacy is evident in the figurative works of many local painters.