About the Exhibition
Light Gets In will showcase Stuart’s adept talent using collage and oil paints to create pieces that radiate light. The pieces emerge through two dramatically different techniques yet are unified by the way that light pulses and shimmers on the canvas cultivating emotional and instinctual responses. Stuart pushed for more surface texture in his newest collages, providing a new dimension to his work. His work’s exploration of light-effect and surface is altered by this texture while they continue to focus on abstraction and the use of lines. While Stuart’s works formally focus on the physicality of the painted object, his goal is that they transcend to a place of intuited recognition.
Stuart’s collage process involves collecting strips of paper that have been used to create straight lines in other paintings. Within his studio, he has amassed dozens of boxes full of these paper strips, each organized by color. He holds onto each of these strips so that he can dig through and find the exact color that he needs. This intelligent process of reusing materials allows Robert to experiment with modulating light, creating a careful spectrum from dark to light and back again.
Each painting has the goal of completion and “fullness” to a point where an emotional response and recognition is possible, and where it can transcend its materiality to represent something inward, intuitive, even spiritual. All sorts of “sightings” from nature and daily life inspire me: stains on old walls, patterns and colors on leaves, light hitting a staircase or a building a certain way, a photograph, a poem, other art. However, these are seldom a direct plan for a painting, except possibly as a beginning, a vague idea or desire, then the interactions with materials—paint, paper, colors, etc., take over, and move the painting forward. But, I believe that such outward visual inspirations linger, stay with me, and are manifested indirectly.
About the Artist
Robert Stuart’s glowing paintings and works on paper engage in the mysterious qualities of light. Inspired by both natural and man-made sources, strips of paint become metaphors for beams of sunlight or neon sculptures. Carefully building rich layers of oil and wax, he juxtaposes inky bands of color against subtly iridescent grounds. Stuart’s paintings hum with atmosphere and evanescence, yet are grounded in clear compositions and tactile materiality. Stuart received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and his Master of Fine Arts from James Madison University (1977, 1984). A nationally exhibiting artist, he has received numerous awards and honors including the prestigious Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2004). He has held solo exhibitions since 1987 including his two most recent, Linear Progressions, Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA (2018) and Boundless Forces: Nina Ozbey and Robert Stuart, Chroma Projects, Charlottesville, VA (2015). His work resides in permanent collections at The Clay Center, Charleston, WV; Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, Hollins University, Hollins, VA; and Woodbury Art Museum, Orem, UT. Stuart currently lives and works in Staunton, Virginia.