Jerald Melberg Gallery is pleased to present Thunderhead, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Brian Rutenberg. With these new oil paintings on linen and paper, the artist returns once again to his meditations on the landscapes of the South Carolina Low Country. This is Rutenberg’s seventh exhibition with the gallery.
Brian Rutenberg wrote the following statement about this new body of work:
I do one thing. Every painting I make begins and ends with the same image, a tree trunk and its shadow; that physical marking of location. A tree and its shadow say, “This is here”. By paying attention and drawing them in great detail with pencil on paper, I respond, “I am here.” I’ve never needed a position because I have a place. I don’t paint my native South Carolina, I manufacture a place and South Carolina becomes it.
This new body of work is collectively titled Thunderhead because a thunderhead in the sky portends a storm; something far away will soon be close. This is why all of my landscape paintings refer to standing in one season peering ahead into another, longing for October in May. I always go back to the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh, who said that his favorite thing isn’t getting honey, but that moment when he might get honey. Perhaps this is the source of all art: unfulfilled longing. It has taken me 42 years of painting to see what was there all along, that something can only come to life when we can’t have it.
A South Carolina native, Rutenberg received a BFA from the College of Charleston and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He will be awarded an honorary doctorate from the College of Charleston and deliver the commencement speech in the spring of 2018. Among his numerous awards and achievements, he is a Fulbright Scholar, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow and an Irish Museum of Modern Art Work Programme Recipient. Since 1985 Rutenberg has been honored with over 100 gallery and museum exhibitions across the United States, including most recently the Hoyt Center for the Arts (New Castle, PA), Saginaw Art Museum, and Greenville County Museum of Art (SC). Brian also recently published the book Clear Seeing Place, which describes his journey as an artist and philosophy on painting.
Jerald Melberg Gallery will host a free and public lecture by the artist on Saturday, May 19 at 11am.