Robert Otto Epstein works within his own systems of production, painting and drawing compositions that are analog in nature, exploring his interests in philosophy, history and architecture, and how these disciplines affect one another within time and space, part to whole, start to finish, on the surface of a painting.
All of his abstract paintings and drawings start with a grid, and so he begins by hand-drawing a grid onto the surface. Then he creates a blueprint in advance, based on various geometric ideas and mathematical equations. At times he employs chance into the decision making process - literally rolling dice and painting the color that he has assigned to a given number. He then paints / draws each work square-by-square and row-by-row, working from the bottom right corner across each row and then up the surface.
Epstein's grid figures combine elements of his portraits and abstract paintings. Epstein first sources his portraits in Google searches of celebrities in fashion, sports and Hollywood. He then takes these images to Photoshop where he deconstructs the image by placing colorful squares over the existing model. Once completed, this transformed gridded model becomes an instructional map for his paintings. Epstein draws a grid by hand on his surface then paints each unit, square-by-square, row-by-row, bottom up the surface.
Epstein’s gridded portraits are humorously rendered quantifications pieced together with representational signals for a smile and a pose, and vibrant clothing built of the same coded system as the abstracted backgrounds his models pose in front of. Strategically placed units of color delineate what is rendered as figurative and nonrepresentational.
ODETTA, Colormania, September 8 - October 15, 2017