"The objects I paint transcend and magnify reality. I use light somewhat in the way Francisco de Zurbarán did. He was one of the few painters that gave true transcendent meanings to objects. This treatment of light makes them appear more as they are. Their essence is greater.”
"Gifted with technical virtuosity, Bravo commands
a seemingly effortless sleight-of-hand to enthrall
viewers in unexpected ways. Like a modern-day
alchemist, he manages to transform everyday objects and ordinary subjects into something inimitable,
rarified and extraordinary. Even his most austere and nearly abstract compositions can inspire awe in
their transcendental allure."
- David Ebony, Contributing Editor: Art in America
David Ebony on Claudio Bravo's vision
"Corresponding to Bravo’s celebrated painting series of anonymous packages wrapped in paper, Three Aluminum Papers shows the metallic panels, equidistant apart, fixed to thin rods and cords, and hanging against a deep Prussian blue wall. The three shimmering bands of foil, with golden highlights, suggests a devotional tableau of some kind, rather in the manner of an altar hung with Tibetan thangkas. Considering Bravo’s Catholic upbringing in Chile, and his passion for painters of the Spanish Baroque that he studied firsthand in Spain, and in particular the paintings of Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), one might be tempted to regard Three Aluminum Papers as an allegorical work, alluding to the Holy Trinity, perhaps, but without overt religious imagery. In this way, Bravo, with aforementioned sleight-of-hand brilliance, infuses the commonplace with an unexpected spiritual propensity."
"Bravo, who frequently asserted an appreciation for the work of Mark Rothko, Antoni Tàpies, and other abstractionists, presents the two spare monochromes of Stretchers in his typical, lovingly rendered fashion. In this picture-within-a-picture, or, rather, pictures within a picture, Bravo addresses the heated—and ongoing—artworld debate—often a battle—pitting the virtues of abstraction against those of figuration. It is an argument that has preoccupied critics, art historians, art-world observers, and indeed, artists themselves, since the early twentieth century. Here, Bravo savvily calls for a truce. By employing a virtuoso realist visual vocabulary to ennoble abstract, Minimalist iconography, he suggests the poignant notion that both modes of expression, if they are well executed, can be valid efforts in the pursuit of truth and beauty in art."
"Bravo, who lived and worked in Morocco for decades, pays tribute to this adopted homeland in many works, but not in the usual or expected way of emphasizing local color, Berber tradition, or elements of Islamic culture. He neither romanticizes nor exoticizes the North African milieu, and his works, while harboring a spiritual aim, are apolitical in this regard...Clearly, the still-lifes Saharan Vessel (1994) (and) Moroccan Fans (1994), are sincerely felt, reverent tributes to the arts and crafts of North Africa, particularly Moroccan weaving and ceramics – which Bravo collected in depth – as well as the country’s ancient ethnographic history."
"Arrangements of canned goods, dish detergent, and other commercial products here correspond to Pop art motifs from the 1960s on, but the meticulous illusionism, brilliant color and light, are purely of Bravo’s fertile imagination...Yellow Marjana (2008) could be read in an allegorical way...the bottles of cleaning products (at left) give way to tennis and soccer balls, and comfortable Moroccan babouchas or slippers on the right, as if sports, recreation, and relaxation would be just reward for a day of hard work cleaning, or—furthering the metaphor—soul cleansing.”
“Among the earliest and most mysterious works in this exhibition, Nude Male Leaning on Column (1979) is a complex scene of a studio interior, with a male nude seated on the floor with his back to the viewer. A window in the far distance reveals an urban setting. On a bench near the male nude, a seated female nude is, remarkably, left unfinished. A ghostly presence, this sensuous apparition might suggest either the beginning or the aftermath of an erotic interlude. A surrealistic atmosphere pervades the scene, although Bravo’s work, as it explores consciousness rather than the unconscious, cannot be classified as Surreal. In this work, and in all of his paintings and works on paper, Bravo places his formidable and inimitable technical skills in the service of illusionism. With his singular vision, he aims to convey the magic of reality.”
"Technically conveying an astonishing verisimilitude of the texture of fur, Lamb Skin (2003)...honor(s) desert animals and great shepherding and agrarian cultures of North Africa. The animals themselves, however, are absent which suggests the fragility of these traditions, and their potential dissolution with modernism, industrialization, and the passage of time."