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Robert Cenedella refers to Jasper John's quote, "Oil, tar, nails and socks are no less important than paint." This series, "Art about Nothing," stands on its own as a deeply, masterful, reflective series that illuminates (an aspect of) the foundation and commencement of art making. The artist chose his medium of communication to be wooden stretcher bars that have to be milled, fabricated, joined and constructed to support the substrate canvas, mirror, or metal that becomes foundational for making a painting or assemblage according to his vision. Robert's usage of vast varieties of common and rare woods (combined and used singularly) becomes the vocabulary for the significance of making art. These choices inform the viewer of the structure of (a particular kind of) art making early in the process. This series is a teaching tool that reminds us that underneath a canvas there is a construction necessary. Experiencing this collection requires the viewers to ponder many questions; where does art making begin, does the rarity of material constitute better, more beatiful or more important art, are commonly found chains, nuts, bolts and burnishing tools meaninglul and valuable or do only the rarest materials have to be intrinsic to a work to give it the respect of the colletor and the critics?
During my 40 odd years of valuing fine art, I have not seen it stripped to this essence by any other artist since Duchamp.
The collection was exhibited at Galley 626 in Los Angeles on May 21, 2005; a selection was shown at Galerie Otto in Berlin; and "Art about Nothing" was exhibited at Salander O'Reilly in 2004. The "Art about Nothing" collection was also exhibited at the Broome Street Gallery in 2008.
Wooden Stretcher Bars and Mixed Media.