Contact: Cecilia Whittaker-Doe, Don Doe
SRO GALLERY is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Robert Egert: Anthropocene.
Opening Reception April 28, 6-9pm. The exhibit will be on view through May 20, 2018.
1144 Dean Street
Hours: Saturday & Sunday 1 – 6
Anthropocene: the period of time during which human activities have had an environmental impact on the Earth regarded as constituting a distinct geological age.
Egert’s latest works are inspired by science, economics, and social systems and infused with historical references. Critic William Allen wrote in WG Magazine,
“… full of magma energy, wit, and speculations on the body, on science, on nature mimicking art. His images are Darwin’s dreams, Philip Guston’s party-jokes, or Frida Kahlo’s sighs of grief.”
In his most recent paintings shown here at SRO GALLERY, Egert’s mathematical surfaces and classically inspired vessels morph into worlds of their own. While they suggest classical influences, these paintings move the viewer towards contemplations of the future.
The forms in his paintings place the viewer in a position where it is possible to stand before the scene of natural landscape, architecture, (in one painting a collection of vessels that seem to carry the source of life), or dive back into the distance of these scenes, in an attempt to gather more information and question where in his invented world we prefer to stand.
In some we look through passages to find familiar mechanics. Pipes form an imagined sort of plumbing – conduits of our changing natural, industrial and AI environment perhaps. We wonder at the connection between the familiar and the unknown. There is nature, science, architecture and archeology found in all the paintings. The works on paper suggest chemical reactions in nature, forms of the human body are felt, as if we are all subject to spontaneous happenings. We feel the interior and the exterior simultaneously.
Robert Egert was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1958 and studied painting at Pratt Institute with Autonomia founder Ernst Benkert and sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. He later obtained a graduate degree from City University Graduate Center with a focus on critical theory.
Egert began exhibiting his painting in New York in the 1980s with his first solo exhibition at White Columns gallery. Shortly thereafter he joined Civilian Warfare, one of the galleries that launched the emerging East Village art scene.
His solo show there of large scale oil paintings led to participation in numerous exhibitions at both emerging and established venues that included Gracie Mansion, Jack Tilton, and Holly Solomon.
Most recently, his work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Fred Valentine Gallery, Ethan Pettit Contemporary Art, Holland Tunnel, and Rockland Center for the Arts, all in New York.
Robert Egert currently works and resides in the New York metropolitan area. His paintings and works on paper are held in private and institutional collections in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis and Dusseldorf.
Paintings 2014 – 2015
Ethan Pettit Contemporary
119 Ingraham | Suite 312
Brooklyn, NY 11237
By William Allen
This group show, called “Wackadoodle,” thumbs its nose at highbrow irony and aesthetics, with seven artists steeped in the traditions of North Brooklyn (conceptual art, action painting, and sculptural collage). By design there is no theme, only fresh, bright painting, drawing, sculptures, video art, and prints.
The show features tiny TV sets with noisy bursts of expletives, from Henry G. Sanchez, evoking personal, voyeuristic leanings, a novel twist from this political and community-based artist.
Eva Schicker shows large Rococo-style, squiggly angel-like drawings that sprawl over Arches paper (the show’s title may come from her manic doodling). Three pint-sized paintings show us her serious side, with bits of text to say that poetry is in the air. A quick peek in print files reveals some geometric, meditative works on black that make me think Brice Marden.
Gili Levy has a thing or two on deKooning. By way of local action painters Chris Martin, James Harrison, and master-primitive modernist Alfred Jensen, she flaunts abstract expressionist practice with Brooklyn tints and dynamism. Vibrant cobalt blues, cerulean greens take on fleshy pink where bodies in motion float down stairwells.
Another non-objective painter is Alkemikal Sohsu, participating in the Brooklyn conversation from Katmandu. His organic work is studious, wildly cheerful, optically frazzled, while his prints, toned down, explore convergences of sines and cosines in fractal portraits of brainiacs like Leroy Neiman and Salvator Dalí.
Robert Egert’s biomorphic, blue chalk drawings took me by surprise – full of magma energy, wit, and speculations on the body, on science, on nature mimicking art. His images are Darwin’s dreams, Philip Guston’s party-jokes, or Frida Kahlo’s sighs of grief. They hold underworlds of swirly vessels, Klein bottles (non-orientable, mathematical surfaces), slaughterhouse slurry turned into bone meal, and pumping diastolic hearts. While classically beautiful, they shocked me to subservience – I was suddenly alone, at 30,000 feet, where I could hear a pin drop.
Ken Butler, physicist-poet-sculptor-harmonist lends several musical objects to the mix. Sound fairly pours out of them as they stand static mounted to the wall, resting in inertia, waiting for Cage to unleash a hundred cadenzas from a bent prosthetic arm, a praying mantis music stand, embodiments of made-up, backwards music that waits for the viewer to invoke it.
Jan Holthoff paints his way towards Knickerbocker Avenue from Dusseldorf, in the Romantic tradition of Neo Rauch and Mamma Andersson. Often working with monumental scale, here small works show picaresque figures in half- articulated moonscape, longing for something mystical, lost in a fiery midnight fog.
Is it unarticulated sound these artists share? Perhaps bewilderment, a manic cry for something more beyond the picture plane (or LED or viola fingerboard), an unheard utterance expressed in visual art?
They are zany doers and philosophers. But their thought is cast in cool and colorful objects, pleasing to the eye, generous to the conscience and the conscious. So please keep an ear to the ground and eye to the wall at Ethan’s place.
But once you’ve looked at the art and left, sit down and talk with friends, and ideas will unbundle all around you. The theory is here, it just hides behind the smarter sheen of well-made work. It’s just nice to look at—you can think about it later.