Phyllis Bramson and David Leggett: Brewing Something New

Above: Left: David Leggett, High Vibration Plates Only, 2024, acrylic, collage, and felt on canvas, 28 x 22 in / 71.1 x 55.9 cm. Right: Phyllis Bramson, Basic Truths about Romantic Conditions, 2023, mixed media, collage, and paint on paper, mounted on panel, 48 x 36 in / 121.9 x 91.4 cm


Artists Phyllis Bramson & David Leggett have collaborated at ENGAGE Projects this spring to exhibit Double, Double Toil and Trouble! With a familiar title served up from the cauldrons of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Bramson and Leggett visually recontextualize the phrase through their individual usage of collage, shared comedic relief and maximalist painting. 

Bramson shared with CGN, “It was my idea to show with David Leggett. I had seen his exhibitions when he used to live in Chicago. Now he is in Los Angeles. I felt people know a lot of my work; I wanted to shake things up!” 

The exhibition calls on and highlights taboos and dares to platform subjects that are usually kept out of sight or only superficially examined. Leggett’s paintings recycle media familiar to the masses, with his work highlighting the importance of humor in dealing with the reality of mundane life. Through hyper-modern collage aesthetics and traditional symbolism, Leggett touches on themes from hip-hop to art history, sexuality, racial divisions and the self.

Considering Leggett’s work, Bramson says, “I find his work to be elegant, well composed and tightly crafted, and I certainly try to do the same. We both use irony, humor and ‘inappropriateness’ – David uses Fat Albert and Black Bart to craft a narrative, and I utilize Orientalism, which I can trace back to my childhood.”

“I take many of my cues from standup comedians,” Leggett explains, “which I listen to while in my studio. Humor and the use of color are two tools that I employ to bring the viewer in.”

Bramson, whose résumé has a few decades on Leggett’s, wields comedy as well, as she is a self-described “painter-comedian”. She admits, “In the studio I don’t practice good behavior. I maim. I raid. I give myself freedom.”  

It’s the intersection of bold commentary on every day life and collective memory that makes Double, Double, Toil and Trouble! a unique chance to witness a visual conversation between two artists at different stages in their careers. For Bramson, “We have a fair amount in common, yet still are quite different. David’s bite has sharper teeth! So while we are not to be looked at as all that similar, we both have something to say about the human condition, collaging and sharing the use of specific ideas about ‘beauty’.”

Mar 22–Apr 27 • ENGAGE Projects • 864 N Ashland Ave. (60622)




This preview is featured in the spring/summer issue of CGN, out April 1, 2024. To subscribe to receive a print magazine by mail please click here