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“I am obsessed with building pictorial space though stacks of color like playing cards scattered out on a table.” – Brian Rutenberg

New York – An exhibition of new work by Brian Rutenberg entitled Low Dense will be on view at Forum Gallery from January 13 – February 19, 2011. Saturated with layer upon layer of thick multicolored paint, the 14 exuberant abstract paintings pulsate as hyper-charged geometric shapes surge across the canvas.

In his new body of work, Rutenberg is influenced by European, British, and American art history. He integrates his longtime interest in Cubism with his admiration of English painting – from Thomas Gainsborough through Francis Bacon – to evoke a heightened sense of awareness on the part of the viewer. The large blocky eyefuls of intense color are also inspired by the jazz-influenced paintings of Stuart Davis.

Applying thick layers of paint using a range of tools from small knives to book-sized planks of cardboard, Rutenberg shows a love of the gesture, immersion in process, obsession, longing, and a deep love of color. Years ago, he learned that Gainsborough applied paint using the equivalent of salad tongs – dipping sponges into pots of paint then onto the canvas to map out generous dark masses on his canvases. Rutenberg begins his paintings this way.

Growing up in a resort town in South Carolina, Rutenberg recalls “being infatuated with the percussive flashing of candy-colored light bulbs in the seaside amusement parks and arcades of my youth” and the visual poetry of nature. “The power of color still mystifies me: it creates space where there was none, stirs memory and emotion without narrative, and most of all invites us to slow down and see,” he notes.

Brian Rutenberg (born 1965) lives and works in New York City. His work can be found at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, OH; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC: Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; and Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL; among others. Included in his many accolades, Rutenberg is the recipient of a 1997 Fulbright Scholarship and a 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in painting. His work was the subject of a ten-year retrospective exhibition at the Butler Museum of Art, Youngstown, OH, and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions through the country.

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An opening reception with the artist will be held on January 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Forum Gallery’s new location at 730 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street. 

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