Friday, February 16, 2018

New Work

Here is my latest batch of work going back to last June. All photographs were taken by RL Photo Studio of Burlington, Vermont.

This first piece, Binding Light (1), evolved over time to become something much more spiritual than I originally intended. I find that I am continually drawn to geometric shapes with random angles and sides. I like how they are all different and I like adding to that difference by painting them differently. As I paint them I am always thinking how their uniqueness is a metaphor for the uniqueness of all beings, the infinite variety of life. Consequently, I see this work more as portraiture than abstract art.

As I was working on this piece, I started to see how, if I painted the last, outermost pentagon the same color as the section in the corner it could infer that the same color (or light would exist around every other shape continuing beyond the unseen corners out to infinity. In this way, I feel it is a depiction of the nature of reality, the insepartablity of all beings that exist everywhere.
Binding Light (1)
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2018
Binding Light (2) is a conceptual continuation of (1), intending to show what it looks like to have multiple "beings" within the painting. I had changed the last pentagon to white after I realized that it made more sense since white light is the source of all other colors; additionally, both The Tibetan Book of the Dead (The Great Liberation Through Hearing) and people who have died and come back to life talk about going toward a white light.
Binding Light (2)
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2018
Carlota was originally started, and "finished," in 2013. Over the summer I pulled it back out to work on it again, this time adding the zigzag pattern on top.
Carlota
mixed media on board 
41.5" x 41"
2013/2017
Here is what Carlota looked liked before I reworked it.
December 2013
mixed media on board
2013
The same with Conundrum with Blue, it was the second zigzag piece. I decide to make larger zigzags this time. Not sure which is better.
Conundrum with Blue
mixed media on board 
42.5" x 46"
2013/2017
And this is what Conundrum with Blue looked liked earlier.

Untitled
mixed media on board
2013
Homage is, obviously, an homage to the many other artists that have inspired me while still adding my own style. I am not sure why but I find it really important to use a different color for each ring. I believe the aesthetics would be better if it had a pattern but I feel the changes make it more mysterious, adding questions to the viewers mind.
Homage
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2017
There must be a source light but I have no idea what it looks like or what the radiants look like either. This is an attempt at depicting it.
Source Light
mixed media on board 
48" x 41.5"
2017 
These next three are inspired by my bumper stickers ideas.
Grayless
mixed media on board 
11" x 36"
2017  
Inductance
mixed media on board 
11" x 36"
2017
Surprise Party
mixed media on board 
13.5" x 24.5"
2017
Physicianification was first "completed" in 2013, but stayed in storage for four years.
Physicianification
mixed media on board 
17" x 36" x1.5
2013/2017
2013


These last three were inspired by work I'd seen in NYC just before making them, though, if you see where my idea started you would not believe they where related. It worked more as a mental jumping off point. It was nice to find a good use for small scraps I had laying around the shop for years but couldn't bring myself to giving away for firewood.
Stack (1)
 acrylic and gouache on wood
7" x 10" x 2"
2017

Stack (2)
 acrylic and gouache on wood
8.5" x 27" x 2.5"
2017

Stack (3)
 acrylic and gouache on wood
23" x 12" x 2"
2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bumper Sticker Update #6

Here are my six most recent limited edition wordless bumper stickers, #33 to #38. As I might have mentioned in previous posts, my vision is that they act as seeds to open minds. To further that goal, I am committed to giving away one bumper sticker to every US resident that promises to put it on their vehicle. Likewise, to make it a self-sustaining project, I charge $10 for all other stickers. If you would like one, check my Facebook fan page or Instagram account @robhitzig to see the most recent edition and email or message me an address to send it to.
072516
limited edition of ten
3" x 10"
091516
limited edition of ten
3" x 10"
042217
limited edition of eleven
3" x 10"
050817
limited edition of eleven
3" x 10"
 070917
limited edition of eleven
3" x 10"
 072717
limited edition of eleven
3" x 10"

Onion River Campground Bathhouse

I recently completed painting the bathhouse at Onion River Campground in Marshfield, Vermont. It was a fun project, not least of all because the owners allowed me to do whatever I wanted, no pre-approval of concept or design. I found the project a useful reminder of just how much can be expressed with just simple colored stripes. I was going for something that would be both fun and challenging, balancing a fine line between welcoming and "out-of-place-ness." 
Onion River Campground Bathhouse
exterior latex paint on plywood
14' x 16' x 24' (approximate)
2017
I would be remiss if I did not also mention that I developed a relationship with the owners through their other venture, Nutty Steph's, my source for the best granola in the world (note: this is an objective, unbiased, easily verifiable statement devoid of hyperbole). 
Onion River Campground Bathhouse (women's side)
Onion River Campground Bathhouse (men's side)
Onion River Campground Bathhouse (front view)
Onion River Campground Bathhouse (back view)
Onion River Campground Bathhouse (before)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Group of Canoe Strip Canvas Pieces

I had my second group of "canoe strip canvas" pieces photographed by RL Photo Studio in Burlington, Vermont a couple of months ago. With this group I experimented with painting the entire surface, taking wood grain out of the work. Because the pictures are, for the most part, taken straight on center, the best indication of the shape is found in the drop shadow. 

This first piece was painted while doing a residency at Vermont Studio Center. The free-form style was a big change and challenge for me, but was completely the result of being in that intensive environment and being pushed to try new things.
Timeless
acrylic, milk paint, and shellac on wood
32" x 41.5" x 7"
2017
I have a small garden plot in front of my house where I grow thing deer won't eat, like kale and mesclun mix. I love grabbing hand fulls of greens whenever I walk by and eating them immediately.
Garden Snack
acrylic, gouache, milk paint, and shellac on wood
32" x 43.5" x 7"
2017
I love my truck, a 2003 Toyota Tacoma with >200,000 miles. If you saw it you would think, "I bet that's Rob's truck."
Truck Love
mixed media on wood
32" x 43.5" x 10"
2017
Twilight
acrylic, milk paint, and shellac on wood
32" x 35.5" x 6.5"
2017
Below are two new pieces in my "ART?" series. I love that it is a completely ambiguous question, allowing many interpretations and many times more answers, so I feel it is a question worth repeating and recreating in different forms. Ideally, the ambiguity spurs discussion and thought, which I believe is more important than any specific interpretations people identify. Personally, though, I'm kind of stuck on the interpretation of what art can do in this increasingly divisive and scary political environment the US is experiencing; as in, "What good is art?" or "How can art be used to bring people together?" However, I love hearing what other people think when they see it.
ART? (4)
acrylic, graphite, milk paint, and shellac on wood
32" x 36" x 5.5"
2017
To construct ART?(5) I used the actual forms from my 16 foot canoe. 
ART? (5)
acrylic, gouache, milk paint, and shellac on wood
32" x 35.5" x 13"
2017
Because the piece is so deep, I thought it was necessary to take images from each side as well.
ART (5) 
second view
ART (5) 
third view
I have a couple of show scheduled for 2018 where I hope to display these and my earlier ones. Stay tuned for more info.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Canoe-Strip Canvas Series

After completing my canoe in 2013 I had quite a few strips left over that I had planned to use for something but I was waiting for inspiration as to how I could best use them. 
Canoe
mixed hardwood
16'
2012-2013
Finally, over the past summer, I realized I could create interesting shaped "canvases." Going Aboard was the first. I was listening to Moby Dick a lot at the time (all the way through twice and then on shuffle with the rest of my music for about a month more) so I think it was fitting, on a couple of levels, to name it after one of the book's chapters. (Photo credit for all the subsequent images are RL Photo Studio, Burlington, VT)

Going Aboard
acrylic, oil pastel, and shellac on basswood and walnut
35" x 27" x 9"
2016
Upon seeing the series, a friend implored me to get a 22 gage pinner to hide the attachment method. The result is definitely cleaner and less distracting. With this one I needed to mill new strips, this time out of curly maple, cherry, and walnut. 
Stage Fright
acrylic and shellac on maple, cherry, and walnut
36.5" x 43" x 6"
2016
The Gam is another Moby Dick inspired title, it refers to the meeting up and exchange of pleasantries of whaling ships on the seas and though I wasn't thinking about the chapter when I made the piece, when I was looking for a title I realized the word expressed what I had in mind in designing it. 
The Gam
acrylic and shellac on maple and cherry
36" x 43" x 5"
2016
I was reading a book by the Dalai Lama over the summer in which he mentions that it is a good idea to have images of the Buddha around one's home. In thinking about it, and why I didn't have any, I realized I didn't like any Buddha images I had ever seen and that if I would have one that I'd like, I'd have to create it myself. With Follow Wisdom I wanted to abstract the image so that the concept of the Buddha would be more important that the specific person that modeled for it. Additionally, I chose to create radiating rainbow colors because Buddhist texts often refer to Buddhas dissolving into rainbow light.
Follow Wisdom
acrylic and shellac on walnut and birch
32" x 35" x 9"
2016
I was in the Washington, DC area the week of the presidential election, going to museums and galleries, and seeing a lot of word art. I generally get annoyed by word art, probably because of my dyslexia, but on my way back to Vermont the two things were on the front of my mind when I was inspired to create a series of pieces that just said "ART?". As a dyslexic, I appreciate its brevity, but what I really love is its ambiguity. What is it asking? How many different ways can it be read? What is/are the answer(s)? I see it as a starting point for open-honest dialog, which is badly needed right now. 
ART?(1)
acrylic, tinted and clear shellac on ash and walnut
32" x 34.5" x 8"
2016
Because it can be read so many different ways, I feel it is a question worth repeating. For my second ART? piece, I rework a canoe-strip canvas that I "finished" over the summer. I like that it isn't immediately obvious what, if anything, it says.
ART(2)
mixed media on basswood and walnut
36.5" x 43" x 6"
2016
I also started reworking some experimental "shellac paintings" I created back in 2010 by painting acrylic designs on top. I think the play between the acrylic foreground and tinted shellac background is interesting.
Occupy
acrylic with tinted and clear shellac on birch plywood
18" x 24"
2010/2017
Open House
acrylic with tinted and clear shellac on birch plywood
26.5" x 22"
2010/2017
And finally, I had rough-cut Obsession back in 2014 but left it lying around the studio for a couple of years. Again, listening to Moby Dick gave me inspiration to finish it. The title refers to both Ahab's quest and to the act of creating this sculpture.  
Obsession
acrylic, oil pastel, oil stick, and shellac on birch
10" x 28" x 2.5"
2014-2016