new paintings and thoughts on raushenberg
These are two new paintings in my Vertical series, #17 (79"x12") and #18 (82"x12.) I will be shipping them to my Santa Fe gallery within the next few days.
I have been thinking about Robert Rauschenberg, who died this week, and about a large show of his combine paintings that I saw in New York two springs ago. Before that show, I thought I knew his work pretty well--mostly because he was a favorite artist of the instructor of my Art Since 1945 class back in undergrad school. I had liked his work well enough when I saw it in class, but was never really bowled over by it...was it the goat with the tire around its middle, that I just never really "got"? I went to the Met that day expecting to give the show a cursory run-through and get on to other things.
But seeing that collection of his work in person, I was indeed bowled over, and I spent several hours going through the exhibit in that elevated state of mind. The thing that I had never understood from reproductions, and the few pieces I'd seen in person--is that his work as a whole is so visually stunning. Seeing it in person, I saw how very painterly it can be, and how delicious in its raw and ragged textures and unexpected flashes of color and bold contrasts. Probably because the emphasis in my art history class had been on his ideas, I had thought of him as primarily a conceptual artist--not one who also spoke such a compelling visual language. My opinion changed that day...even the goat with the tire around its middle had an aesthetic appeal that I'd never realized.