Rob Pruit: Finding His Spirit Animal

P H I L L I P S
Jan 30, 2013 8:28PM

Rob Pruitt’s interest in pandas has developed and broadened extensively during his career, making his bear paintings his most recognizable works. The New York-based artist continually challenges established preconceptions of what an artwork should be – Power of the Panda (Happy Alone) satirizes the supremacy of this cuddly animal as an iconoclastic symbol within Pruitt’s oeuvre.

Rooted in Andy Warhol’s artistic strategies, Pruitt’s practice takes up various ideas from Pop art while adapting and transforming them. Recalling Warhol’s love of superficiality, Pruitt’s dreamland is a glittery stage with no apparent content. The cliché breaks down when we think about the fate of the object he's portraying: we realize that behind the carefully staged surface lies a polluted environment that has driven the panda population to near extinction. In this balance of cliché and reality lies the true quality of Pruitt’s work.

Power of the Panda (Happy Alone)
will be offered in our Contemporary Art auction, 14 February 2013, in London.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019