Robert Sagerman - Far Closer


PRESS RELEASE: Robert Sagerman - Far Closer, Oct 23 - Dec 20, 2014

Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to present, Far Closer, a solo exhibition of paintings by American artist Robert Sagerman. To be in the presence of a painting by Sagerman is to sense it through various mechanisms. There is the visual impact of color, dynamically arranged in saturated fields. Then, the physicality of the paint as layers of paint, built upon one another, lurch forward. Finally, the subtle but ever present fragrance of linseed oil. To take all of this in requires one to be present, stepping forward to realize the tactile effects of his surface, and stepping back again to process the cumulative effect of the painting as a whole.

Referencing the sphere of the Infinite (“Ehn Sof,” in Hebrew) as one approaches the limitless nature of the divine, Sagerman compares the rhythmic back and forth actions of looking at and creating his work with the immersion of one in this transcendent field, concurrently acknowledging its endless nature. In this way, close and far converge to form the present moment of understanding.

The action or state of being present is fundamental to Robert Sagerman’s work. The conceptual underpinnings of his process parallel the exegetical tradition of medieval Kabbalists, the study of whom earned Sagerman a Ph.D. in 2008. These mystics used math and numerals as a language for the analysis of mystical experience. The data that Sagerman collects (the number of marks per color, the total amount of marks and the time spent for each painting) provide an entry point for the artist to investigate what underlies his works.

Sagerman manufactures his own oil paints in order to achieve a high level of chromatic and material density. Color choices are intuitive and layers of paint accumulate only after bottom layers have dried. Applied with a palette knife, his mark-making purposefully exaggerates the action of each stroke and emphasizes the materiality of paint itself.

Robert Sagerman (b. 1966, Queens, NY) has exhibited extensively national and internationally, including recent exhibitions at the Mies van der Rohe House, Berlin, Germany, The Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Hunterdon County Art Museum, Clinton, NJ. Paintings by Sagerman are in the public collections of the Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), The Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum (Hagen, Germany) and The Museum of Concrete Art (Ingolstadt, Germany). Reviews of his work have been published in ArtNewsArt in America and many others. Far Closer is the artist’s sixth solo exhibition at Margaret Thatcher Projects.

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