Monday, November 16, 2009
Old Men Drinking
I've known Rob since I was finishing undergrad at EUP and he was starting graduate studies. I've realized recently that he's like a more adventurous version of my dad.
He makes abstract oil paintings. Together we're old men at the trendy bars getting idiot drunk sometimes and venting about painting all the time. No one likes us. Not even us I suspect, but not always. A girl talked to us last time. I got tipsy and riled up and ended up ranting too loud with a stiff finger toward her face about the absurdity of talent. Sorry about that.
Rob does better than I do. His work is a little more accessible for an audience I think and sometimes he laments how that must be a bad thing. He landed a deal with a company thats building a hotel here in Pittsburgh. They commissioned twenty paintings, each four feet square. It's fun to hear about some of the requests. Less pink, for instance. What the fuck are you on about? Luckily he has a go-between. She's an artist that isn't making work but rather brokering deals like the one with Rob. Good for her I say. We need her.
The demand and volume has changed Rob's process. And thus, his images and surface too. I went to his studio to look at them. Chunkier and clunkier than in the past. It's a transition I'd wanted to see him make. He says his work deals with forces in the universe not commonly pondered but that super nerd physicists study and quarrel over. Mountains too and the unseen strata and the physical presence and girth of landmass.
We get along pretty great. We can talk about this dog's life we've gone for until the cows come home. I suppose it's fair to say that we're old fashioned. But some of that is good. It cultivates sincerity instead of shallow incoherent theory. I think I say some things that help him, and I steal his color ideas and his discipline for layering a lot, too.
He also has a solo show down in Alabama coming up. So his plate is pretty full.