Thursday, January 28, 2010
Hotel Katkowski; It's a Lovely Place
My comrade Rob Katkowski finished his suite of four foot by four foot paintings for the hotel being constructed in downtown Pittsburgh. It was a pretty sweet gig, and he knows it despite all his bitching.
He had some people over to his studio to show them off before they were transported to the hotel for display. No one we know would be able to afford to see them there.
I've seen them a few times in progress over the past eight or nine months. Working with such pragmatic purpose and with a bureaucrat's watchful eyes upon you changes your process. It can leak into the studio like a toxin, but not to the detriment of the work if you've got any vision at all.
Rob rolled with it. They don't all look completely resolved, but the strong ones show the evidence of pushing on to a broader field. I like the one that starts to look like it's jiving on Milton Avery's work. I never imagined Rob going that direction, but it fits. It's more candy-like and less playful (somehow) than Avery's powerful musings but such are the ways of filters and desires.
Rob's surfaces get more fleshy as time goes on. He's been working on thicker and I've been struggling to get delicate thins up to par in my crucible.
Milton Avery "Island"
Rob's intense but polite. He paints with purpose and he always gets me excited talking about technical things. Brass tacks. That's his new obsession. He's gotten down to brass tacks. Ha! Kill me now. He's sold me on it, too. Luc Tuymans uses them on the edges of his surfaces. Rob saw his show in Cleveland but I missed it because I'm a boob. And Mike Ninehouser is a pushover for women. No, I'm just a boob. I should have made it there. Rob and I have both gotten very energized by Tuymans only lately. We warmed up to him in the past few years, but now we're fairly agog.
Luc Tuymans "Rabbit"
Do people take Rob seriously enough? Who knows. Some do. I take his work ethic very seriously, but he's a sweetheart and won't fess up. Look at this kid: