2018 Art Project
Artist's Statement: My work concerns stillness, what it is to be alone in the crowded cacophony of New York City, and the elusive intimacy between subject and myself in this urban lushlife. That personal connection is the emblematic born from the risk of approach in visceral and confused repetition. I approach figurative painting from a perspective both emotional and participatory, where abstraction takes priority over observation. Life, so sparsely populated by models and painters, is a moment to moment interaction with an ever changing composition. Colors shift and layer, while shapes enter or leave the frame in tandem to lights dimming, then brightening, and dimming again. Human reflex is to sift through these images, organize, discolour, redact and select so as to compose a narrative that we find agreeable. However, if my instinct for order plays a secondary role in companion to color, form and mood, assumption gives way to sincerity and the figures capture tangible moment. Abstraction gives voice to the immaterial and representation to the immeasurable. Sometimes we construct a stage in agreement that for a certain amount of time we will summon the courage to participate in that rare kind of conflict where both sides abide by set rules to distinguish clearly good and evil so heroism may be practiced unabashed. Hoping to capture the intimacy of personal contest, I photographed a variety of sports, but found Basketball the most dynamic from a painterly perspective. The players bodies are simultaneously isolated and tangled, clashing in a verticality similar to the religious histories portrayed by the old masters. High art enjoys it’s comfortable distance from physical recreation, but I’ve found the separation entirely arbitrary. As an artist, ignoring a phenomenon so pervasive in American life, somethings so integral to so many people, seems grossly irresponsible. For figurative painting, Basketball is a vast well of untapped resource in the quest to capture pure human experience and emotion. In that vein, I see the work as a personal challenge for self improvement, driven not by external forces, but an isolated and abstracted personal contest. City life, in the studio, a crowded bar or the cage, is my constant practice so when the human moment finally arrives, I don’t have to stop and think about it. Reuben Gordon was born in 1996 in the Lower East Side of New York, NY. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY. He received a BA from Bard College in 2018. Residencies and places of study include Bard College Berlin (2016), the San Francisco Art Institute (2013), and the Art Students League of New York (2013). Recent solo exhibitions include You Live Long Enough, Bard College Exhibition Center, Red Hook, NY (2018); Reuben Gordon at the Bushwick Open Studios, 1013 Grand Studios, Brooklyn, NY (2015); and Rock in the Art Gallery, with Reuben Gordon and the Basement Sounds, Cincinnati Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2015). Group exhibitions include Rent Money, curated by Jackson Denahy, H0l0, Queens, NY (2018); Heat, SUNY-Purchase, Purchase, NY (2018), OMI Summer Exhibition, Art OMI, Ghent, NY (2017); Open Studios at Bard College Berlin, The Factory, Berlin, Germany (2016); Dimensions: a Group Art Show, curated by Kevin Foley, Philadelphia Open Studios, Philadelphia, PA (2015); 21 and Counting, The Painting Center, New York, NY (2014); SFAI Pre-College Final Exhibition, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2013). Reuben Gordon has also been an active curator in New York City for several years.
An Exhibiton I curated with Nate Page and Harvey Opengnorth at the home of a trustee of the BMOA to raise funds for the Musuem placing several works in prominent collections next to blue chip works
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