Brian Rutenberg

World renowned American artist: contemporary

I stumbled across a YouTube video showcasing Brian Rutenberg recently and have quite fallen for his stuff.  I think it’s necessary to actually watch one of his videos to appreciate his earthy wisdom and no-nonsense approach to his art.    His videos are intimate slices of life, interspersed with his philosophical views about his painting practise, humorous anecdotes and the art world in particular.

This is the video that I watched where he also discusses modernism/post-modernism and his use of reds:

(Studio visit 74, October 5, 2020)

(From the above video) … a painting is more than a bundle of words and social symbols awaiting deconstruction. A painting is like a ship in a bottle, it serves no practical purpose, it doesn’t heat homes or purify water. It’s only job is to be itself. That’s why it’s so important to stand in front of a painting in the flesh because you are standing in the exact same spot that the painter did when he or she created it.

I love colour and looking at his work is a feast for me.   He employs all means available to him, including his hands, to manipulate substantial quantities of paint onto the surface.  He uses paper as a ground for most of his large works, which is really amazing considering how much textural work he does on the paintings.  I’d be interested to learn what paper he uses. He also works on linen canvas. Here are some imges from a Forum Gallery show earlier this year:

Brian Rutenberg: The Pond
Forum Gallery. February 27 – July 31, 2020

From his website bio:

Widely considered to be one of the finest American painters of his generation, Brian Rutenberg has spent forty years honing a distinctive method of compressing the rich color and form of his native coastal South Carolina into complex landscape paintings that imbue material reality with a deep sense of place.

“You can learn just as much from a lousy painting, as you can from a good one. remember, it’s not necessarily the level of quality that counts than about bringing yourself to something outside yourself. “

— Brian Rutenberg (from YouTube video embedded above)

I have ordered one of his books off Amazon – ‘Clear Seeing Place’, so will probably write something about that once it arrives.

Here are some images of his work :

Brian Rutenberg ‘Clamdigger’ 2019 Oil on linen 55×68 inches
Brian Rutenberg ‘Magnolia’ Oil in linen 60×82 inches
Brian Rutenberg ‘A Little Long Time’ Oil on linen 48 x 90 inches
Brian Rutenberg ‘My Blanket of Shadows’ 2019 Oil on linen 48×58 inches


(source of images of latest paintings at Forum Gallery)

‘Clear Seeing Place’ link to Amazon

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