Robert Rauschenberg's "White Painting"
b. 1925-d. 2008
Robert Rauschenberg studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Rauschenberg was both a painter and a sculptor, often combining both medias. He also worked in photography, printmaking, paper making, and performance arts. Rauschenberg was quoted as saying that he wanted to work "in the gap between art and life." He questioned the distinction art objects and everyday objects.
Rauschenberg picked up trash and incorporated found objects such as newspapers, into his paintings, often beginning with quilts and other items as his canvases. He liked the surprise of the objects, and the transformation of the object by changing its context.
I love the series that Rauschenberg created in the 50's known as his "White Paintings." They were large panels of mostly layers of white paint. They were referred to as "airports for the shadows and for dust, but you could also say that they were mirrors of the air." I love the exploitation of white, and the bravery of calling pure white a work of art.
Rauschenberg was a brilliant artist in all formal terms. He had great compositions and use of space, color, texture and shapes. Look at the incredible use of hot neon pinks!
This is one of Rauschenberg's paintings I saw at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Look at this work titled Pilgrim, that spills into the gallery. It was so strange stumbling across this image years after completing my installation. Weird, huh?
Look at this mixed media. He uses a taxidermy bald eagle and a pillow hanging from the canvas. It's odd how mysterious and haunting, yet so incredibly beautiful his work can be.
Just one more example of his work. When he could not afford canvas, he simply took his quilt off his bed and use toothpaste, paint, and nail polish to create this piece. Here you can really see his choreography, improvisation, and the use of painting, sculpture, and everyday object.