Robert Rauschenberg

Biography

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was an American painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the pop art movement. Rauschenberg is well known for his ''Combines'' of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. Rauschenberg was both a painter and a sculptor and the Combines are a combination of both, but he also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993. He became the recipient of the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts in 1995 in recognition of his more than 40 years of fruitful artmaking.

Rauschenberg's approach was sometimes called ''Neo Dadaist,'' a label he shared with the painter Jasper Johns. Rauschenberg was quoted as saying that he wanted to work ''in the gap between art and life'' suggesting he questioned the distinction between art objects and everyday objects, reminiscent of the issues raised by the ''Fountain'', by Dada pioneer, Marcel Duchamp. By 1962, Rauschenberg's paintings were beginning to incorporate not only found objects but found images as well - photographs transferred to the canvas by means of the silkscreen process. Previously used only in commercial applications, silkscreen allowed Rauschenberg to address the multiple reproducibility of images, and the consequent flattening of experience that implies. In this respect, his work is contemporaneous with that of Andy Warhol, and both Rauschenberg and Johns are frequently cited as important forerunners of American Pop Art.

Rauschenberg picked up trash and found objects that interested him on the streets of New York City and brought these back to his studio where they could become integrated into his work.  In particular his series of works which he called Combines served as instances in which the delineated boundaries between art and sculpture were broken down so that both were present in a single work of art. Technically ''Combines'' refers to Rauschenberg's work from 1954 to 1962, but the artist had begun collaging newsprint and photographic materials in his work and the impetus to combine both painting materials and everyday objects continued throughout his artistic life.

Exhibitions
July - September 2015
Heather James Fine Art - Jackson, WY
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