ANDY ROBERT: BLIND CONTOUR
November 14, 2015 - January 3, 2016
close up of "Ives Dairy Auto Repair" oil on canvas, 2015
“Blind Contour" emphasizes a poetic duality between abstraction and representation; between process — the modes of image production — and image. “Blind" in this case is both the visible and invisible, and the edges between the two. The exercise favors the experiential, a partial use of the sense of sight and peripheral observation; while maintaining both in a sustained gaze as the subject who is viewing while drawing. For Robert, this forms the context for an intimate and self-reflective bond between the subject of the work and the artist; between narrator and subject.
Robert's paintings are created from contour line drawings that are map-like in their trace, and at times from collages. His drawings document community, its members and events; and the collages are composed from a database compiling various source material and imagery. Robert's approach to painting is that of social observer, stemming from an experimental documentary discourse. He views a world of mass communication yet increased voicelessness and sees art as a viable tool, a mode and form of criticism and critical reflection to address this contradiction.
There is a lot at play when making a painted image. For Robert it's an intuitive process with direct gestures and marks, including drawing, color, texture, line, washes, dry brushing, and scraping. The adding and removing of paint is considered, valued and preserved when approaching its finish. For exsample, in the painting, “Western Union: Bless Their Little Hearts,” these abstract elements are seen amidst the fine lines of drawing and washes of color.
From the moment he starts painting the layering begins — from drawing, to washes and up. He wants the paintings to feel like sketches, quick with the immediacy of a thumb nail, but thought out in scale; with both the detail, consideration and intimacy of a rough draft.
"Overall, I enjoy the experimentation and tinkering that comes with painting images. It's taking something apart to put it back together; you risk breaking it. And in the process a different kind of play happens — slowed down, something else is learned. Something unexpected is seen and made anew and fresh to the eyes. Yet in that bareness and distillation there is loss. Images are meant to be dismantled and then put back together; and it is in the act of making painted images, in the discursive and transformative shifts that I ask: What is at play?"
About the artist:
Born in Les Cayes, Haiti, Andy Robert received his BFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art and MFA from California Institute of the Arts. He is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant 2013. Robert was an artist-in-residence at the Whitney Independent Study Program from 2014-15 in New York City. He participated in the 2015 Bienal de las Fronteras (Instituto Tamaulipeco para la Cultura y las Artes) in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Robert currently has work included in the group exhibition A Constellation, at the Studio Museum in Harlem from November 12 till March 6, 2016; and a public art installation Heavy Rain and Lightning at Full Haus, from December 6 till January 31, 2016. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
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