Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Art History

process and materials. that's what much of what encaustic painting is about. Robert Rauschenberg certainly used materials-metal leaf, dirt, newspapers, fabrics, tires, all kinds of found objects, what some people would call junk. i imagine him in the '50's, Jasper Johns working downstairs, walking around his block in NYC and creating one of his "combines" from whatever he happened to find. Most art historians credit these combines for his place in art history. but in the 1960's when other artists started using the same materials Rauschenberg moved on creatively and began his series of silk screens, at first on canvas and combined with paint. did he and Andy Warhol talk about the process they were both using albeit with different results? Rauschenberg once said that his goal was "to make a surface which invited a constant change of focus and an examination of detail." certainly he achieved that. his  was one of the largest retrospectives by a living artist ever exhibited at the Guggenheim in 1997. i am so glad i was able to experience it and have the exhibition catalogue signed by the artist. now might be a good time to take another look at his work.
Robert Rauschenberg passed away on the 13th of May. he was 82. he will be missed.