Donnalynn Patakos Features Robert Szot in Issue No. 5 of Portray Magazine
I met Robert Szot in New York City recently. I brought a friend with me, who I had shown his work. She, being an art advisor, thought his paintings are fantastic like I do.
We all know on a screen, art can be perceived quite differently than in real life. I was not prepared for how much more I was going to be taken with Rob’s work, considering I liked it so much to start.
Each painting he would present thoughtfully, hanging one after the next as I would ask to see, and with each one, it just seemed to get better and better.
He, on the other hand, was quite humble about it all and promised me he wouldn’t get a big head. So, let me delineate for a moment on his beautiful work.
Anita Rogers Gallery is a splendid space. Light floods in, and as your heels create an echo between the wood floor and high ceilings; it hushes your tone as you begin appreciating what is displayed before you on the walls.
Somehow, the balance of the colors Robert presents in his works group to form a robust familial association. There is a caprice to the story he unfolds on a canvas. It is considerate. His paintings are striking, cradling complexion, and embody a gregarious nature, much like Robert himself. They seem to change moods, splendidly harmonizing within the environment elaborately put together.
Just getting his rhythm and rhyme of his craft, he shares with us what he has learned and how his art is evolving.
– Donnalynn Patakos of Portray Magazine
Portray: Are you emotionally exhausted after feeling like you have worked it all out?
RS: Just the opposite actually. I get quite charged up when I feel like a painting has reached a suitable conclusion. So much tension gets bottled up during the process that finishing a work is a great relief, a euphoric feeling that compels me into the next project. I definitely feel it at the end of the work day though, no question I wear myself out.
Portray: When do you know you have concluded a painting?
RS- This is a real problem for me because I can’t say for sure if a painting is ever really finished. I think I know WHY I feel like that. I have always liked the idea that my paintings could communicate who I am to people who maybe never even had a conversation with me. So I think as I change, the ideas of my work change also. The result is a painting that can never feel finished to me because I am not the same person I was when I made it and my instinct is to want to change it, update it.
Susan Melrath interviews Robert Szot during his first solo exhibition at Anita Rogers Gallery
Then Again, Who Does? (September 5 – October 12, 2019)
View the video here.
Highlights from the interview:
- Insight into his current show at Anita Rogers Gallery
- The process of Robert’s paintings, including his tools and materials
- His distinct iconography—what inspires his marks and shapes
- How Robert decides when a painting is finished
- Challenges he faces
- Advice for emerging artists
Your works appear chaotic and harmonious at the same time, tell us more about your working method.
That’s a good read and I feel the same way about my work. I never approach a painting with a preconceived notion of where it will end up and the story my process is primarily about editing. I have a hard time telling the difference between paintings on day one. They all look the same to me really. A lot of dark lines sectioning off the canvas, a bit of blotchy color here and there with no real indication of what’s to come. I struggle in the early stages because there are no real problems that I can solve, so I have to labor to create these problems. Day two is typically when a painting will begin to take on different and unique characteristics. After day two is where I excel and my process becomes very kaleidoscopic with one move opening up 10 moves and so on.
You’ve exhibited widely, including the Saatchi Gallery in London and you exhibited at Anita Rogers Gallery in New York earlier this year. How was this show, and do you become more and more selective with the places that you show as time goes by?
The Anita Rogers Gallery was something that happened just this year and it is a relationship that I am very excited to be a part of. Anita is from an artist family and exudes an excitement for good work that is infectious. She has also put together a knowledgeable and ambitious crew that frankly have been nothing short of delightful to work with. The gallery itself is so old-school Soho and is a challenge I am looking forward to tackling when I have my solo there in 2019. My introductory show with Anita Rogers this last winter was great and has only bolstered my own desire to get back in there with even better work, frankly I am giddy at the thought of it. I also continue to work with Muriel Guepin who I have been with for 8 years now. She has recently moved to Soho and taken to being more of a dealer and less of an exhibition space. She has been a great foundation for me and we have come up together in a sense. I am also working with a few galleries in California now and will be exhibiting work in LA this June.
View the full post on anitarogersgallery.com
The exhibition will showcase drawings by Gloria Ortiz-Hernández, a Colombian artist whose work is included in the permanent collections of museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in private collections throughout the United States and in Switzerland, Brazil and Colombia. Robert Szot, an artist from Texas currently based in Brooklyn, will show collages and paintings. Jan Cunningham, an American artist, will show her “Arabesque Paintings” of 2016 and 2017, celebrating the materiality of color and light and juxtaposing the anticipated with the unexpected.
Introducing Jan Cunningham, Gloria Ortiz-Hernández and Robert Szot
Extended Through February 17, 2018
Anita Rogers Gallery is thrilled to announce its 2018 Winter Group Exhibition, a collection of work by three artists new to the gallery: Jan Cunningham, Gloria Ortiz-Hernández and Robert Szot. The exhibition will be on view January 3 – February 3, 2018 at the gallery’s new location at 15 Greene Street, Ground Floor in SoHo, New York. There will be an opening reception on Wednesday, January 3, 6-8pm.
Cunningham was born in Lufkin, Texas in 1956. She received her BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1979, and her MFA in Painting from the Yale University School of Art in 1985. On the work in this exhibition, Cunningham states:
The Arabesque Paintings of 2016 and 2017 evolved in response to the Arabesque Drawings of 2015 – 2016. The paintings invite the lines of the circle and the ellipse to join with a language of painting that celebrates the materiality of color and light, the juxtaposition of the anticipated with the unexpected, and the affirmation of depth by close attention to process.
Over many years, the paintings have focused on the most elemental aspects of the picture plane. On a square canvas, the dialogue between and among the dimensions of the picture plane -divided into thirds and fourths – has offered a productive way to study the mysteries of such a simple space. Recently these meditations have expanded to include the golden section rectangle, within the square and beyond it. These simple meditations I call Considerations.
Looking at the paintings becomes a matter of reseeing, of reviewing: a corner of a room in shadow; light coming in through a window; a pattern of trees silhouetted in the first light of day; the moon’s light in the surface of a lake; wonder at what might be beneath that surface. It is an experience of folding open, folding closed. Breathing in, breathing out. Resting in the depths, looking up toward the surface, through the surface of the painting.
Colombian artist Gloria Ortiz-Hernández’s drawings and sculptures have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her work is in the permanent collections of a number of institutions including The Museum of Modern Art (NY), The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University (MA), Art Museums Cambridge (MA), The Morgan Library (NY), The Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center (TX ), and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA). Her work is also in private collections throughout the United States and in Basel, Switzerland, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Bogota, Colombia. She currently has a drawing (Plate/Shift #10) on view at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.
Robert Szot was born in 1976 in Houston, Texas. He has exhibited his work in many galleries across the United States from New York to Los Angeles and Texas. Szot’s paintings have been exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery in London and, in 2014, the artist was invited to participate in the Whitney Museum Art Party. His work is in public collections, including Credit Suisse, and numerous private collections, such as Beth DeWoody and the Bass Family. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.