Robert Kushner, Visitor, 2017
Robert Kushner
72×72 inches
Oil, acrylic, gold leaf on canvas
The complex, convoluted nearly anatomical form of irises always gives me a linear challenge. in Visitor, the color is warm to hot, the lines are thin, and appear to disappear from time to time. The chevrons provide a further challenge to the complex forms of the flower petals.
Thanks to all who attended the Opening of “Portraits & Perennials” on a cold and snowy evening, Thursday, February 9th. 
The show continues through March 11 at DC Moore Gallery.
Please stop by. 


Film Credit:  O’Delle Abney of NYC Gallery Openings


Please join me at DC Moore Gallery for the Opening of “Portraits & Perennials.”
Thursday, February 9th, 6:00-8:00 pm
The show continues through March 11, 2017

DC Moore Gallery is pleased to present 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 catalogue’s 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 Nasturtiums­–Hot Season (2016), Kushner’s 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 artist’s monumental Tenderness (2015). At times the work’s imagery, created with oil and acrylic paint with gold leaf, evokes Matisse’s 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 exhibition’s catalogue: “So, are geometry and botany at peace? In dialogue? At each other’s 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 form—that 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 Kushner’s artistic concerns and brought new critical insights into the artist’s 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 Kushner’s 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).



Robert Kushner, Ahavah, 72 x 72 inches, oil, acrylic, gold leaf on canvas, 2016

A new painting. Following a course of thought based on boldness and maximal visual activation.
Two raucous coordinating grids of red, pink, yellow, green, blue, black gray, lavender.
Then a huge white lily that is nearly being devoured by the background.
My own personal reference to some of the very early Matisse still lives where the oranges, lemons and carafes are going to be completely overwhelmed by the blue and white background textile as soon as Henri turns his back.
This and other new pieces will be shown at:
“Perennials and Portraits”

February 9 – March 11, 2017

Robert Kushner working at Shark's Ink. studio Two years ago, I painted a huge painting, Camellias and Cacti, on transparent fabric to install at Hakusasonso Kansetsu Museum in Kyoto, Japan.
One year ago,  I made a smaller version on canvas which depicted only camellia flowers and branches.  Bud and Barbara Shark of Shark’s Ink saw it when visiting my studio last November.  We had talked about doing a new print, and Bud immediately suggested working with this entire image. It was a bold and ambitious proposal. It took me a little while to get used to the idea, but I did and so we worked and worked and worked on it this last August at Bud’s studio in Lyons, Colorado. Et voilà, here it is.
We made 18 different litho plates, some of which had as many as three different colors on them. I used tusche, Xerox toner powder, litho crayon, water, salt, sugar, various resists and block outs to create the plates.  Proofing and color selection was complex but it all went smoothly. As we got near completion, adding the blocks of deep blue and blue violet, we all got excited at how good it was looking. The last step was the horizontal stripe of 22 K gold leaf and with that, the whole image pulled together and the colors started singing to each other.

Thanks Bud, Barbara, Evan and Roseanne.  It was a great and very fulfilling work session. And we now have a lovely print:  Morning, Noon, Night.

Robert Kushner's "Morning, Noon, Night," 2016
Robert Kushner, Morning Noon, Night, 2016
 27 X 75.75 inches, edition of 30, color lithograph with gold leaf,
printed in thirty colors from eighteen plates on white Rives BFK paper.
Published by Shark’s Ink.

[click on image to view larger]

Peony Triumphant – Robert Kushner

June 30, 2016

Robert Kushner, Peony Triumphant, 72 x 72 inches, 2016   Peonies only exist in red, pink and white. Their season is absurdly short. They require seriously cold winters to incubate their amazing profusion. Their true glory is unknown to those in overly temperate climes. To crown their abundance of petals, they are redolent with divine fragrance. Smell […]

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“Emerging From the Shadows”: Dorothy Browdy Kushner

April 14, 2016

I am so proud to see my mother, Dorothy Browdy Kushner’s works in print, listed with over 300 of her women colleagues. Below are some of the images recently published in Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California 1860-1960.  This four volume reference set has been a decades-long labor of love for […]

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Oxbow School Students Create Mural with Robert Kushner

April 13, 2016

It was wonderful to visit Napa, CA in the riotous height of spring and particularly inspiring to work with a wildly talented, spirited, goofy, wonderful group of high school students.   Gathered together from all across the country for this one semester art immersion and academic program, I hope they learned some things, but I […]

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Oxbow School Spring Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Robert Kushner

March 16, 2016

Robert Kushner Tuesday, March 22, 7pm Visiting Artist Lecture Oxbow School, Napa, CA Since participating in the early years of the Pattern and Decoration Movement in the 1970’s, Robert Kushner has continued to address controversial issues involving decoration. Kushner draws from a unique range of influences, and his work combines organic representational elements with abstracted […]

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Robert Kushner at Jerald Melberg Gallery, March 12 – April 23, 2016

February 29, 2016

Robert Kushner: Paintings & Works on Paper March 12 – April 23, 2016 Please join Jerald Melberg Gallery for an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Robert Kushner. In this recent body of work, Kushner continues expanding the style he has worked in for decades: boldly colored, opulent paintings patterned with flowers […]

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