Brian Rutenberg: "Clear Seeing Place"


Brian Rutenberg opens his 4th exhibition at TEW on October 13, 2017.  Rutenberg was born in 1965 in Charleston, SC. He has recently published a memoir titled Clear Seeing Place, which details his journey to becoming an artist and the influences that inform and inspire his powerful abstract paintings that are redolent of memories of nature in the South. 

Brian Rutenberg has said that “Humidity made me a painter.” He was raised in the moist heat of the South Carolina Low Country where his early experience of art came from ancient rivers like the Santee, ambling the marshes as a child and later, trying to capture the view in oil paint. The continued imaginings of this landscape are an important influence on his work to this day.  Over the decades as an artist, Rutenberg has come to recognized how much the directness and simplicity of those early experiences taught him about the way a painting comes into being and this has manifested in his infatuation with ‘place.’

Rutenberg believes that art is the collision of the intellectual with the visceral. “Relying too much on concept or technical facility can come across as academic, even pretentious”, he says, “While spontaneity without the chops to deliver it in tenable form, just feels out of control.” An artist’s job, in Rutenberg’s view; is to align conceptual vision with technical ability until the two merge and become something entirely different. This harmony, he believes, is achieved rather unglamorously by simply showing up at the studio every day and working. “This new and somewhat introspective series of paintings embodies his continued obsession with the simultaneous discovery of place and the crafting of it.”


About the artist:

Brian Rutenberg is a Fulbright scholar (1997) and a graduate of The College of Charleston and the School of Visual Arts (NY). His paintings are in permanent museum collections, including the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL; Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL; Ogden Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; and the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA. Brian Rutenberg has been the subject of one-person exhibitions at the Cress Gallery of Art at The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN; the Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, MA; and currently, a retrospective of paintings at the Saginaw Art Museum, Saginaw, MI through June 3, 2017. He has exhibited at galleries across the country, and his work is collected throughout the US and Europe.