Lives and works in Staunton, VA
(b. 1955, American)
8-word Artist Statement:
“Trusting the eyes to speak to the heart.”
In paintings I strive for “new beauty,” for opening pathways to emotional and intuitive responses.
Three “encounters,” have been particularly inspiring to me as an abstract painter. The first was walking unawares into an exhibit of eight sequential grid paintings by Agnes Martin, and seeing that contemporary painting could be about the infinite. Another was standing on brilliant crevices of light in the loft of our large, old barn as early morning sunlight filled the bay below transforming slits between the floorboards into lines of light. It was what I wanted in painting. And thirdly, directly after a trip to Japan which included a tour of Zen gardens, a vivid dream of a large red abstract painting with white lines that compelled me to start on this path.
In the process of painting I feel that I am exploring, following leads, intuitively interacting with the materials and the evolving structure. Someone once told me that my landscapes looked as though an abstract painter brought his easel outside. Getting a sense of light from the work is important. The process is additive and subtractive, as I layer, scrape, add and erase with knives and scrappers, fingers, cloths, wax and mineral spirits. Sometimes I use collage from painted paper strips, residue from the making of larger paintings. The colors and textures of these residual, painted papers are often the inspiration for new works.
- Robert Stuart grew up, mostly, overseas while his father worked for USAID and UNESCO.
- He received his MFA from James Madison University and BFA from Boston University School for the Arts.
- He found early success as a representational painter of landscapes and still-lifes, but after ten years he moved to an abstract style which he had experimented with in the past.
- He has shown his work in the New Orleans Museum of Art Triennial and has received an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- His work is in private and public institutions including Bank of America, Duke Energy, Davidson College, Neiman Marcus, the Mint Museum, and Hunter Museum of Art, among others.