Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg 1925-2008

I tip my brush....
One of the greats of the Art world passed on this week. Robert Rauschenberg. He was one of my primary influences when starting my long hard slog to being an artist. It was years ago (high school, in fact) when I say my very first Rauschenberg work at S.F.Moma. It was what he called a combine...what I call assemblage.

combine - Any painted assemblage that is neither simply painting or sculpture, but rather a hybrid or interdisciplinary painting-sculpture. The term "combine" was coined by Robert Rauschenberg.

where as assemblage is defined as this:

assemblage sculpture - A three-dimensional composition made of various materials found objects, paper, wood, and textiles

Now, I admit that according to the definition, the term combine might be more correct in describing my work than assemblage...but only by a nose...besides, assemblage (assemblahhhhhzzzzzhhhhh) has a nicer ring to it. To each his own.
I can't tell you what an effect his work and others like him had on me. You might say: but it looks nothing like your work. But once upon a time my work was more like his than it was like mine. The reason was that when I was in Art School I dabbled in abstract expressionism. I was fascinated by texture of paint, and how paint was able to mix with other textures as well as actual objects. This exploration allowed me to use my paint the way I do today....because of his influence, I was inspired to understand what paint actually does, what it is as a physical, tactile element,and how it relates to foreign objects. There were others who inspired me in this regard, in particular, such as Anselm Kieffer, but I think Rauschenberg was the first to show me that paint and found object art can work together.

"think a painting is more like the real world if it's made out the real world."
Robert Rauschenberg


Her Vintage Stage said...

What a wonderful tribute.

J a n e said...

Uuuugh- SHIT!

Well that completely sucks.

He and I spend many a lonely night and dark days in college together- Indeed it was a fantastic and dangerous love affair...

I did not know he passed.

DAMN IT- Another good one is gone.

(Thinking of you...)
J a n e

Deryn Mentock said...

I think there's a Raushenberg exhibit here in Houston. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

Jen Crossley said...

Thanks for sharing Michael I will check his work out amazing work

kass said...

I would say most mixed media artists owe something, knowingly or otherwise, to Raushenberg. He was one of the best!

thealteredpage said...

I can definitely see his influence in your work -- and in fact, in so many mixed media artists. I have also been lucky to have recently seen a number of his pieces at several places in NYC. Thanks for this post.

it's just me....searching for hidden treasure said...

when i was in seattle for artfest, we made a mad dash to s.a.m....i feel blessed to have had my second run in with the man's work so close to his death...he and joseph cornell are my heros...(cornell was at s.a.m. too...swoon)delta

Neda said...

Always awed by your work! Thank you for inspiring us all.

Just a note: "Combine" might also refer to the French word which means bringing disparate elements into some sort of a close relationship :)

Ann Webb said...

He was a genius! I saw an incredible retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and it was dazzling-so many mediums, so little time. And yes, there is an exhibit of cardboard pieces at the deMenil(Houston)--making the extraordinary out of the ordinary!
Great tribute!

between the worlds said...

hi michael this is just too spooky- just got back from a week long trip to NYC- where I took in tons of Rauschenberg at the Whitney and MOMA- i hadn't checked your blog in a few weeks- and here you are blogging about it.
the rauschenbergs i saw where so awe-inspiring and my brain is completely overwhelmed by the raw creativity it has been exposed over the course of the past few days- i only wish i had taken my camera.
so looking forward to taking your classes this weekend in Boston.