Untitled 6x6 - 3x23
- Acrylic on canvas , 2016
72 x 72 in
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Robert Swain has spent his entire career devising a unique system for organizing over two thousand colors and studying how humans interact with and feel color. His approach to color is less theoretical and more empirical as evidenced by his highly systematic approach to painting over the past four plus decades. Through his rigorous evaluations, Swain has gone beyond how we perceive the physical effects of color to how we experience the emotional and physiological sensations produced by color in certain arrangements and configurations. Thus, his paintings go beyond physical observation to a phenomenological affect.
Robert Swain thinks of color as energy and a trigger for a series of physiochemical reactions in humans that results in certain sensations. Through abstract painting, Swain can uncouple color from any cultural signifier and cognitive system and examine the pure affect of color on the human psyche. The emotional and psychological ramifications result from the combination of the particular colors, their values and degree of saturation as well as adjacency to other colors, overall organization and scale. In this exhibition, two series of Swain’s paintings will be presented: the well known meticulous grids with their flat pristine surfaces and his newest all-over paintings with their lush painterly surfaces referred to as the “Brushstroke” series.
Robert Swain received a BA Degree from the American University in Washington, D. C. in 1964. Currently, he lives and works in New York City and is a Professor at Hunter College. He has had eighteen solo exhibitions, the most recent being a major retrospective at Hunter College / Times Square Gallery in 2010. His work has been included in over sixty group exhibitions, including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. In 1968 he was included in The Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Thirty-First Biennial and again in 1998 for The Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Forty-Fifth Biennial. Swain’s artwork is represented in over 284 private and public collections, including The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Detroit Institute of Art, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Milwaukee Art Center, The Everson Art Museum, The Denver Art Museum, The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.