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Brian Rutenberg

Clear Seeing Place

Paint thunders across canvases that flash and crackle with the energy of an electric storm until in the calm of resolve there is, in the final facture, a true clear seeing place. The title of this exhibition of recent work by New York-based abstract painter Brian Rutenberg – also the eponymous title of a memoir by the artist published last year and what he calls a “love letter to painting” – aptly signifies the clarity of vision that runs through these breathtaking oil on linen paintings. It is an awe-inspiring view of nature that is both boundless in its clear-eyed celebration of beauty but also reverential in its devotion to an indeterminacy in the natural world that no man can fully appropriate. It is energizing to view painting that so enthusiastically embraces the beauty of the world, to be enthralled by an art that unabashedly asserts the sheer lusciousness of paint and color, and to have the exhilarating experience of seeing creations of visual grandeur that quite simply engage the eye with pleasure and touch the soul with joy. Such is the work of Brian Rutenberg. There is also something more: deeper contemplation of the work has the added benefit of delivering us from the preoccupation with time that ordinary life seems inevitably to demand and opens the possibility for enrichment of quotidian existence. His paintings are complex, beautiful expositions conjured from harmonious orchestrations of vibrant color, light, and texture. In them, he melds the seen and the imagined into unique visual intuitions about the natural world expressed on canvas to electrify and delight the eye and the mind. Rutenberg creates dazzling responses to nature and place, masterfully converging a unique sense of chromatic abstraction with traces of vaguely familiar landscape elements, compacted into visceral and elegantly structured compositions. Rutenberg’s work is distinguished by a remarkable sense of artistic solidity, a feeling of genuine permanence, of being anchored in true reverence for the aesthetic, undistracted by fad or a desire to be part of some pseudo-avant-garde. In his paintings there is an extraordinary clarity of feeling and an enduring authenticity of expression. His work absorbs our attention and soothes our senses, attaining greatness from the contemplation they inspire rather than the shock created. Mediating realms of outer and inner reality through his art, Rutenberg avidly absorbs the beauty and also the mystery of the natural world and, with luminous intensity, his expression of it transforms observation into pure feeling. His process seems almost alchemical: from the rich physicality of his 2

Brian Rutenberg: Clear Seeing Place  
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