Rauschenberg Residency Postscript #2

About the paintings…

These paintings that I made during the Residency are the first “easel paintings” (that’s a category, didn’t use an easel) that I’ve done in 20 years. Given that many folks know my sculpture and installation work (look at the big weird object above!) and not my 2-D work, the question might be, “Why is he doing these old fashioned paintings????”


I’ve been doing work related to the new paintings for over 20 years. Here’s a piece, Constellation of Drawings (Memory), 1990, that’s at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

OHSU Constellation

And in the summer of 2011 I did a large wall painting in the Hoffman Gallery at Lewis & Clark College in Portland as part of a group show.

L + C 3 views


This work was in a leftover space that resulted after a special room was constructed (to the right) for a video installation. When Linda Tesner, the gallery director, initially showed me the space she was very concerned about this odd space, but I thought it would be perfect, a space where I could try something akin to working in a chapel-like space like those I saw in Rome the previous year.

S Luigi Caravaggio

Caravaggio, The Calling of St. Matthew, 1599-1600, in San Luigi dei Francesi, Contarelli Chapel.

I was not interested in the imagery for my work (obviously), just the challenge of the narrow U-shaped space.

While I was working on the mural, I thought it was kinda fun and maybe I should try painting on small panels as I liked the hard wall surface. I had grown tired of working on paper, not the paper itself, but the hassle of matting and framing, and the need for glass (and then you gotta store them and not break the glass). I tried canvas for large drawing/paintings 20 years ago, but stretching canvas is also a hassle and the canvas has no “resistance” (also a hassle to store safely). So, I thought about cutting up some 3/4″ ply and painting on that, and then procrastinated…

UNTIL I got the call inviting me to the Residency. I thought that would be the perfect place to get things going. I also found the panels (which you can get at Blick or Utrecht) and I got a lot more panels that I had planned for (see Wednesday November 29 post), a great thing. So that’s how the little paintings are both new and old and relate to my work.

Maybe I’ll do some more…BTW, I plan to show the color works at Nine Gallery in Portland in April…



One thought on “Rauschenberg Residency Postscript #2

  1. Pingback: Captiva Paintings opening at Nine Gallery | Paul Sutinen

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