Biographical Sketch by Laura Padgett
Robert Egert’s fluidity develops from a concept. This is no flimsy use of the word. At Pratt in the seventies we enjoyed a rigorous education in minimalist and conceptual art, both in theory and practice. This underlies Robert Egert’s work no matter what it looks like. His early painting moved from constructed spatial objects to new takes on Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
In the early 1980s when the East Village was hip and dangerous, I saw his exhibition at Civilian Warfare. His paintings were large oil canvases, vernacular objects floated amidst a color field ground, weird perspectives generated a sense of insecure place. These works referenced the uncertainty of the times, a change in value systems, a world drifting towards an ambivalent future. Years before artists like Neo Rauch appeared on the scene, Robert Egert was making paintings that collaged the mundane with the historical in a mix that said something about contemporary politics, manifesting duplicity by referencing nostalgia, his work pinned down the eclecticism of the time, making images that were complex and unapologetic.
Since then Robert Egert’s work has evolved to be more thoughtful and reductive, dealing with questions that go beyond the contemporary. The years following the heady days of New York in the eighties took him in many directions, Robert Egert went on to study philosophy and sociology, founded a family, wrote for art journals and has had a good look at corporate America. Inevitably, his approach to painting has become more encompassing, while his practice incorporates experience gained outside the hermetics of the art world.
The sense of searching to make human experience palpable without being obvious is a quest that Robert Egert has set out upon. When we look at the shapes in Robert Egert’s paintings we see patterns interlocking and overlays of color, sometimes we become aware of a figure. Is it human? Put simply, Egert’s paintings can be seen as a cartography of humanity.
Entre Amigos, Clemente Soto Cultural Center, NYC
Great Plains: solo exhibition of Paintings, SRO Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Big Small Show, The Drawing Rooms at Victory Hall, Jersey City, NJ, curated by Anne Trauben
Paintings by Robert Egert, Victory Hall, Jersey City, NJ, curated by Jim Pustorino
Bonsai Garden: solo exhibition of Small Paintings, Holland Tunnel Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Ballot Show, Front Room Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Spring Salon; Ethan Pettit Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. (Through July 2)
Overloard, curated by Kenny Cole, SRO Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (catalog)
Morphopolis: New Paintings by Robert Egert and Friends; Ethan Pettit Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Catalogue and essay.
La leçon du printemps; Paintings with Elise Tak and Hendrika ter Elst, curated by Elise Tak. Issyra Gallery, Hoboken, NJ
Diorama; Installation at The Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, NY
Full House (East), Curated by Ethan Pettit, Brooklyn, NY
Full House (West), Curated by Paulette Meyers-Rich and Davis Rich, St. Paul, Minnesota
Works on Paper, Valentine Gallery, Ridgewood, NY
Reimagine, Dye Works Gallery, Garnerville, NY
Drafted, Schema Projects, Brooklyn
Selected Group Exhibitions
Group Exhibition, NurtureArt Benefit, New York, NY
Wackadoodle, Ethan Pettit Contemporary Art, Brooklyn
Ballot Show, Frontroom, Brooklyn, NY
Inaugural exhibit, Ethan Pettit Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY
Scavenge Study; Sequoia Editions; Amsterdam, Netherlands
Resurrection, Dyeworks Gallery, Garnerville, NY
Grand Harvest, Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Unbuilt: Imagined Sculptures, Rockland Center for the Arts, NY
Prussian Blue, (in collaboration with sound artist Lisa Karrer); Dye Works Gallery; Garnville, NY
Group Exhibition, Curated by Tjok Gde Arsa Artha, Pomona Cultural Center, NY
Holly Solomon Gallery, New York, NY
57th between A and B, group exhibition
White Columns, New York, NY,
Solo Exhibition, Paintings
Civilian Warfare, New York, NY,
Solo Exhibition, Paintings
MLA, City University of New York Center for Cultural Studies, New York, NY
BFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY