NEW YORK, NY.- DC Moore Gallery
presents Robert Kushner: Portraits & Perennials. In this exhibition of new paintings and works on paper, Kushner extends the boundaries of his compositions, infusing his iconic, organic imagery with vibrant color and increased geometric precision in a lyrical synthesis of styles and techniques.
Underscoring the evocative title of the catalogues essay, Do REAL Men Paint Flowers?, the exhibition seeks to disrupt the narrative surrounding the decorative while exploring the importance of beauty in contemporary art. In paintings such as Bossa Nova (2015), Ahavah (2016), and NasturtiumsHot Season (2016), Kushners defining grid-like backgrounds have grown increasingly pronounced, as he employs a bold, energized palette of brilliant pinks, purples, and yellows that imbue this body of work with new vigor.
I began to consider how I could introduce a more raucous color sense, and increase of scale of the individual floral and foliate elements so that they might go spilling off the confines of the canvas, the artist explains.
These tensions between the figurative and the abstract, achieved through interplays of organic movement and geometric configurations, are in full evidence in works such as Spring Rain (2016) and the artists monumental Tenderness (2015). At times the works imagery, created with oil and acrylic paint with gold leaf, evokes Matisses botanical cutouts, while their bright, vertical bands of color uncannily call to mind the works of Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly. Reflecting on these fluid interchanges, Kushner wittily muses in the exhibitions catalogue: So, are geometry and botany at peace? In dialogue? At each others throats? I would like to think that when I am done after working on it for weeks and sometimes months, there is an interesting and intentionally confusing juxtaposition between pure abstraction and linear formthat they each balance one another and create their own tightrope act.
The accompanying catalogue to the exhibition highlights these new developments through a series of thought-provoking questions posed to the artist by notable individuals in fields ranging from the art historical and creative to the spiritual and culinary realms. These included curators and art critics, two museum directors, a poet, a rabbi, a restaurateur, and a diplomat. Their inquiries covered a wide spectrum of Kushners artistic concerns and brought new critical insights into the artists ongoing body of work.
Robert Kushner has exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum, in New York, and the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art. His work is featured in public collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tate Modern, London, England; and the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy. Publications on Kushners work include the monograph Gardens of Earthly Delight (Hudson Hills Press, 1997) with essays by Alexandra Anderson and Holland Cotter, and Wild Gardens by Michael Duncan (Pomegranate, 2006). In 2012, Kushner was the editor of an important volume of art criticism by Amy Goldin (1926-1978) titled Amy Goldin: Art in a Hairshirt (Hudson Hills).