Donald Bracken

I have been involved with painting landscapes in one form or another for many years. At one time I had a studio on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center as an artist in residence and painted the city and the clouds above from a lofty perch. For the last year and a half I have been concentrating more on terrestrial themes: the farms, the earth, the soil from which our food springs and on which we build our foundation. Through my “dirt” paintings, I have tried to express the omnipotence of the earth, of nature and the fragility of man.
I have been using dirt from farms in Glastonbury and Cornwall, and other natural substances from the ground such as river sand from the Connecticut River, clay from Cornwall, and limestone from Falls Village. I mix the dirt with heavy-bodied acrylic gel which preserves the integrity and permanence of the material. Rich populations of Native Americans may have been supplanted by settlers from another place, the rivers ebb and flow, but the land continues to sustain its people.
These paintings aren’t about a place, they are of the place. I create large canvases rich in texture, with earth and materials from the land we inhabit so that the viewer can feel they are part of the landscape.

Photo of Donald Bracken

Ash & Clay


Dirt & Acrylic



EDUCATION: BFA, University of California, Berkeley, 1973

Selected Shows
2017 Carrie Haddad Gallery (group show), Hudson, NY, December
Norfolk Library (solo show), Norfolk, CT, June
2016 Ober Gallery, Inner Landscapes (solo show), Kent, CT
Washington Art Association (juried show), Washington Depot, CT
Indian Mountain School (juried show), Lakeville, CT; won best in show $5,000
Mattatuck Museum (juried show), Waterbury, CT
New Britain Museum, Nor-Easter, 46th Annual Members Juried Exhibition, New Britain, CT; curated by Judy McElhone
2015 Five Points Gallery, Damascus Road, solo in east gallery, Torrington, CT
Washington Art Association, The Art of Painting, national juried show, Washington, CT; curated by William Bailey
Katonah Museum, Line Describing a Cone, two pieces in tri-state juried exhibition, Katonah, NY; curated by Eva Respini (MoMA curator)
Lion Heart Gallery (solo show), Pound Ridge, NY
2014 Five Points Gallery, In and Of the Land (group), Torrington, CT
Washington Art Association (juried show), Washington, CT; 2nd prize–painting
2013 Lionheart Gallery, Winter Dreams (solo show), Ridgefield, NY
Washington Art Association (juried show), Washington, CT; 1st prize–sculpture
2012 New Arts Gallery (solo show), Litchfield, CT
Washington Art Association, 60th anniversary show, Washington, CT
2011 New York State Museum, Reflecting on September 11, 2001 (3 paintings in group show), Albany, NY
Connecticut Commission for the Arts, installation (group show), Hartford, CT
New Arts Gallery, 15th anniversary show (group show), Litchfield, CT
Washington Art Association (juried show); jurors prize, Washington, CT
2010 New Arts Gallery, Earth Variations (solo show), Litchfield, CT
2009 Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery (gallery-closing group show), Kent, CT
Carrie Haddad Gallery, Landscapes (two-person show), Hudson, NY
Washington Art Association (solo show), Washington, CT
2008 CT Commission for the Arts, Touring CT exhibition (group show), Hartford, CT
New Arts Gallery, Views from the Flood Plain (solo show), Litchfield, CT
2007 New Arts Gallery, Memoriam: Paintings from the WTC (solo show), Litchfield, CT
2006 New Arts Gallery, Three Decades of Painting (solo show), Litchfield, CT
2005 City Lights Gallery, New Landscape (solo show), Bridgeport, CT
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council at CB Richard Ellis (group show), NY, NY
2004 New Arts Gallery, Arbitrary Rivers (solo show), Litchfield, CT
2002 New Arts Gallery, View from the 91st Floor (solo show), Litchfield, CT
2001 Alta Gallery (solo show), Rowayton, CT
2000 Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery (three-person show), Kent, CT
1999 Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery, Celebrating the New Millennium, Kent, CT
World Trade Center, LMCC: World View Retrospective Exhibition, NY, NY
1998 The Studio School, Vertigo (group show), NY, NY
1997 The Federal Reserve Bank (group show), NY, NY
1992 Mattatuck Museum, New Worlds (invitational show), Waterbury, CT
1991 Mattatuck Museum, Connecticut Artists (juried show), Waterbury, CT
Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery, Remembrance of Things Past, Kent, CT
Clapp and Tuttle Gallery (solo show), Woodbury, CT
1989 Schwartz/Cierlak (group show), Santa Monica, CA
Almquist Gallery, California and Other States (solo show), New Preston, CT
Francine Elman Gallery, Rising Stars (group show), Los Angeles, CA
1987 Stephen Haller Fine Arts (solo show), NY, NY
Aldrich Museum, State of the Arts (group show), Ridgefield, CT
1986 Wexler Gallery (group show), NY, NY
Almquist Gallery, Winter Dreams (solo show), New Preston, CT
P.S. Gallery, Summer Daze (solo show), Torrington, CT
1985 Baruch College, Art Against Apartheid (group show), Brooklyn, NY
Wexler Gallery, Swimmers at Ground Zero, (solo show), NY, NY
CT Commission for the Arts, Face to Face: 25 Artists and One Camera (group show), Hartford, CT
1984 Le Boit, Swimmers at Ground Zero (solo show; opened Sept 11), NY, NY
Paris–New York–Kent Gallery, Face to Face (group show), Kent, CT
Attack Gallery, Swimmers at Ground Zero (solo show), Los Angeles, CA
ABC No Rio Gallery, Art Against Apartheid (group show), NY, NY
Kamikaze Club, Puerilism (group show), NY, NY
1983 Art Expo ’83 (group show), Dallas, TX
Vassar College (solo show), Poughkeepsie, NY
1981 Northern Connecticut Art Association (juried show), Winsted, CT; best in show
Fuller Art Museum (juried show), Brockton, MA; honorable mention

Awards and Fellowships
2015 Best in Show, Indian Mountain School, juried show, $5,000
2014 Martha Porter Foundation grant, $5,000
Ferguson-Sherr-Rea Award, Washington Art Association juried show, Washington, CT
2013 Puffin Foundation grant
Ferguson-Sherr-Rea Award, Washington Art Association juried show
2011 Connecticut Commission for the Arts grant
Jurors prize, Washington Art Association
1997 Artist-in-residence fellowship, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, World Trade Center, NY, NY
1985 Robert C. Scull Foundation for the Arts grant
1984 Artist-in-residence fellowship, Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony
1982 Artist-in-residence fellowship, Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony
1981 Best in show, NCAA juried show, Winsted, CT
Honorable mention, Fuller Art Museum, national juried show, Brockton, MA

Selected Bibliography and Publications
LandEscape Art Review Fall 2015 special edition, featured artist chosen in international competition, Also published in Art Habens, special issue, June 2016.
Craig LaMoult, “Artist Who Painted from WTC: 10 Years Later,” NPR news, WSHU, Fairfield, CT, September 7, 2011,
Jane Roy Brown, “From the Field, From the Tower,” Litchfield Magazine, September–October, 2011,
Tracy O’Shaughnessy, “Putting the Land Back into Landscape,” Waterbury Republican-American, July 7, 2010.
Faith Middleton, Peabody Museum, “Don Bracken, Neighborhoods,” WNPR, CT, April 14, 2008.
Jamie Ferris, “From Dust to Art,” Litchfield County Times, March 21, 2008, pages 1 & 2j.
Tracy O’Shaughnessy, “Evocative Solitude Shown In Litchfield,” Waterbury Republican-American, April 14, 2006.
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, “Site Matters,” LMCC Artist Residency Program in the World Trade Center, 1997–2001, pub. 2005.
Tracey O’Shaughnessy, “Forewarning: Cornwall Painter Says World Trade Center Visit Sparked Apocalyptic Vision,” Waterbury Republican-American, Sept,11, 2002, section D, pages 1 & 2, color photos.
Margaret DeMarino, “Water Colors His Vision,” The Sunday Republican Magazine, Waterbury Republican, January 18, 1987.
“Swimmers at Ground Zero,” Galleries Magazine no. 7, November 1985.
Peter Clothier, “Art Seen,” L.A. Weekly, June–July 1985.
Kristine McKenna, “The Art Galleries,” Los Angeles Times, June 28, 1984, section VI.

Selected Collections
Thierry Morin, New York, NY
Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY
Federal Reserve Bank, New York, NY
Millbrook School, Millbrook, NY
Ray Learsy, Sharon, CT
Elizabeth Rea, Washington, CT
Robert Pittman, Katonah, NY
Tim Prentice, West Cornwall, CT
John Van Doren, New York, NY
Robert Scull, Warren, CT
Charles Thanhauser, AIA, New York, NY
Edwin Hochberg, New York, NY
Jerry Wexler, New York, NY
Laurie Colwin, New York, NY
John Foxe, City Island, Bronx, NY
Peter Kauff, Bethlehem, CT
William Steig, Boston, MA
Robert S. & Marty Rubin, New York, NY
Stephen Haller, New York, NY
Steve Brandfield, New York, NY
Michael Nesbitt, Lakeville, CT
Carol Peck, Woodbury, CT
Mrs. Jim Henson, Cornwall, CT

Ray Jankowich, Stratford, CT
Carr Ferguson, New York, NY
Paul Tremont, Bridgeport, CT
Trisha Crane Wexler, Costa Rica
Timothy Corrigan, Philadelphia, PA
George & Sondra Zeidenstein, Goshen, CT
Francine Ellman, Santa Monica, CA
Steve Tekosky, Hollywood, CA
Vincent Young, New York, NY
Mr. & Mrs. Nelson-Slater, Taconic, CT
James Stedronsky, Litchfield, CT
Paul Wexler, Jersey City, NJ
Ann & John Coffin, New York, NY
Hendon Chubb, West Cornwall, CT
Martha Porter, Lime Rock, CT
Angela Cruger, Salisbury, CT
Eliot Osborn, Salisbury, CT
Philippe Selendy, New York, NY
Tony Caretta, Litchfield, CT
Rod Ober, Kent, CT
Mara Fizdale, Sharon, CT
Ian Ingersoll, West Cornwall, CT
Millbrook School, Millbrook, NY
State of Connecitucutt , Litchfield Judicial Courthouse at Torrington, Totorrington,CT