Robert Kushner: Reverie: Dupatta-topia
May 3 – June 16, 2018
Opening Reception on May 3rd, 6-8pm
DC MOORE GALLERY, 535 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: Robert Kushner’s new paintings are a radical departure from his recent work, while harking back to some of his earliest paintings on fabric from the 1970’s and 80’s. This body of work taps into the issues of embellishment and beauty in art that is ever-present in his paintings. For the first time, Kushner is collaging fabric to canvas before adding paint and gilding. The fabrics, mostly silk, come from India, Japan, and Uzbekistan. The flamboyance, sparkle, elegance and technical mastery of all
of these materials, particularly the Indian embroideries known as dupattas, are endlessly fascinating to Kushner. The textiles are adhered to the canvas or panel, allowing hints of hidden embroidered portions to show through the layers of paint, gilding and collage. This results in a complex surface that could not be created in any other way. This over-the-top richness allows Kushner to continue his explorations of elaborate, dense surfaces and compositions, and to wryly ask, “Is more enough?”
Kushner is seeking a balance between the ornamentation on the dupattas he uses and his own depiction of floral and geometric structures. His use of the fabric’s design, combined with underlying replicating grids, allows him to examine and express the idea of patterns as the substrate of our cultural experiences. The result is a lyrical fusion of Eastern and Western styles and this multiplicity of forms, the extensive layering, and diverse palette allows the mood of the pieces to vary from buoyant and a little giddy, to somber and severe.
Kushner first visited India in 1978, where he worked with a family of Rajasthani appliqué artists that changed his studio practice completely. He is interested in the handmade qualities of the textiles which offer a human trace to the paintings. He is also drawn to the sense of inclusion, not reduction, present in India’s textiles as seen in the richness and vibrancy of his compositions.
Read about the show:
May 3, 2018: ArtDaily: DC Moore Gallery Opens Exhibition of Works by Robert Kushner
May 25, 2018: Artforum Critic’s Pick: Robert Kushner DC Moore Gallery
June 11, 2018: Blouin ArtInfo: ‘Reverie Dupatta-topia’ by Robert Kushner at DC Moore Gallery