Andy Robert

Andy RobertArtist’s Statement

I’m engaged in a deeply personal and experimental approach with my painting materials. I want my paintings to feel like sketches — quick with the immediacy and intimacy of a rough draft, but thought out in terms of their scale, detail and consideration. As with a thumbnail, my intuitive, beginning impulses, gestural marks of adding and removing of paint and line is preserved and valued when a painting is to approach its finish, its resolve.

I believe images are to be bent, taken apart and put back together. Working at the edge of representation, I’m balancing abstraction with recognizable imagery. I’m interested in slowing down recognition and enjoying the experimentation and tinkering that comes with painting pictures. I find poetry and meaning in how things come together and apart — in both a wandering a drift, and in the commute; in getting lost, in color, texture and scale. In roughing the surface and in the gravity of drips and runs.

As an artist, my approach to painting negotiates both how a contemporary image is made, understood and seen — its contextualization. Art can be a philosophical means to look at and examine things, to question, test ideas, and engage the world. It can philosophically question how an image, an idea, and process comes into play.

When in the studio, I allow things to permeate and find it interesting what happens to things when they come into proximity and/or collide and draw from both observation and various source materials. A conversation, a snapshot, a photo album, as well as documents and found imagery, can act as a starting point, a point of departure and reference — a first take, a rough draft, at an idea. Never a straight line, images can act as found object, segment — imagery which frame and are seamed together over time as historic and ghostly remain — as yesterday’s sunset considers our horizon.

Like a form of study, the image making process of painting takes time. It happens slowly, through both contrast and tensions between gridded systems, layering, process and line; between scale and direct adding and scraping marks; between dry brushing and washes of color, drawing and gesture, and the phenomenal experience of color and paint. It’s taking something apart to put back together; you risk breaking it. And in this process a different kind of play happens — slowed down — something unexpected is seen; something else is learned. This deeply personal and experimental, improvisational approach takes my hand — the artist’s body — history and our contemporary moment into account.

The paintings reflect life and speak to all its complexities and contradictions. I see a world of mass communication yet increased voicelessness and see art as a viable tool — a mode and form of critical reflection capable of addressing this paradox. I am critically reflecting on marginalization, economic debt, and on a mass inequality of wealth and power as linked invariably to a maroonage, an isolation, autonomy — a making do; and a brokenness of being. And therefore, I’m thinking about things in our community, the environment, the weather, the conversations we have publicly as a nation and the ones we discuss in private — that’s life on the street and viral, our joys and our concerns. In the paintings, the documentation and representation happening is discursive and experimental. It’s one of voice, narrative and attitude. It’s a worldview, both black and abstract, diasporic and of many people.

Images do come against the body. And in rendered layers and variations in finish, surface, texture and detail emphasize this friction. And in the breaking of the picture plane, deconstructive and colliding shifts in perspective, time and space, a melding of simultaneity — the past, present and future; an opaque sense of the infinite and sublime; of terror and vulnerability is felt.



Select Solo Exhibitions from 2017

LAKOU: ONE TWO FIVE, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Select Group Exhibitions from 2015-2018

The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of Contemporary Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

We Go As They, Artist in Residence Exhibition, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC
UNTITLED, Hannah Hofffman Gallery, San Francisco

A Change of Heart, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, California

A CONSTELLATION, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC
Whitney Independent Study Program Exhibition, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York
Bienal de las FRONTERAS, Instituto Tamaulipeco para la Cultura las Artes (ITCA), Tamaulipas, MX

Select Fellowships and Awards from 2013-2019

Foundation for Contemporary Art, Roy Lichtenstein Award, New York
CCF Fellowship for Visual Artists, Los Angeles

William H. Johnson Finalist, Los Angeles
Artadia Finalist, Los Angeles

The Studio Museum in Harlem (AIR), Harlem, NYC
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine

Whitney Independent Study Program, New York

Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Award, Los Angeles


M.F.A., 2011
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California

B.F.A., 2008
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland