Every day while walking the hallways of the 633 W. Palm building here at Chapman, I pass by a couple of paintings by the artist Seann Brackin. I always have to be careful, because if I stop to gaze at these pieces, hours could pass by and I would still be entranced by them, possibly drooling.

piece of artwork

The Big Bang
, oil on canvas


Seann Brackin received his B.F.A in Painting from Pacific Northwest College of Art, in Portland, Oregon and later his M.F.A from Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California. He has lived in the Los Angeles area as well as Madrid, Spain, and Sydney Australia, among many other places. Besides all of this traveling here on planet Earth, he has also expressed a deep fascination with space and time travel, which is something one could probably surmise from his paintings. A prolonged viewing of any of the three paintings we have at Chapman definitely leaves the viewer with a feeling as if they were traveling in both space and time.

The paintings are full of wild, floating, amorphous shapes which are usually painted in solid colors, and seem to reference forms relating to architecture, machinery, science and nature. Further confounding the viewer’s sense of space in his compositions, Brackin often paints thin lines which loop between the foreground and background, and seem to be drawn on with an oil stick or thin brush. This is especially notable in 45, the featured image at the top of the page.  The visual effect creates motion and adds texture to the otherwise flatly painted surface.

In The Big Bang, my personal favorite of the three in our collection, there is a lot of contrast between the darks and lights, but one area I love is the lower-right section of the piece, where he has painted the darkest darks. He has very subtly painted dark gray forms on top of the black background, which gives the viewer a sense of entering a deep void, but also shows a masterful control of gradating colors. The viewer also notices areas in the center that appear to be small splatters of paint, but upon closer inspection they are actually thickly painted circles, suggesting that their placement is very considered. In fact, when you fix your gaze upon the center of the composition and start to back away, you really do get the sense of the “Big Bang” to which the title refers, and all of these details seem to be exploding out from the center.

Featured Image: Seann Brackin, 45, oil on canvas, 39.25×118″


All text and images under copyright. Please contact collections@chapman.edu for permission to use. Information subject to change upon further research.