Widely considered to be one of the finest American painters of his generation, Brian Rutenberg has spent forty years honing a distinctive method of compressing rich colors and forms into complex landscape paintings that imbue material reality with a deep sense of place. The allusion is often to landscape, but looking closely at his work, it is clear that his primary interest is how the painting was made. The forceful manipulation of his materials allows the viewer a visceral response to the forms within the confines of the canvas. Whether a direct representation or an oblique reference to nature, the aesthetic components of line, space and color allow for the immense possibilities of the imagination and a nod to our shared commonality of human experience.
Brian Rutenberg says, "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 body of work is collectively titled 'Looming Pine' because the words conjure an image of something distant gradually getting closer. 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. It has taken me 42 years of painting to see what was there all along: Something can only come to life when we can't have it."
New York City based painter Brian Rutenberg is a Fulbright Scholar, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, a Basil Alkazzi USA Award recipient, an Irish Museum of Modern Art visiting artist program participant, and has had over two hundred exhibitions throughout North America. Rutenberg's paintings are included in such museum collections as Yale University Art Gallery, The Butler Institute of American Art, Bronx Museum of Art, Peabody Essex Museum of Art, Greenville County Museum of Art, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, South Carolina State Museum, and many others. His popular YouTube videos "Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits" are viewed daily by people all over the world, and the series recently won a 2018 Telly Award. Radius Books published a full color monograph in 2008. Rutenberg's book "Clear Seeing Place" was released in October 2016 and is an Amazon #1 bestseller. "Looming Pine" is Rutenberg's 7th exhibition with Nancy Toomey.