The Philip Slein Gallery is pleased to present Instantiations, a solo exhibition of new paintings by New York painter, Robert Sagerman. Robert Sagerman’s most recent dense, multi-layer paintings with their swirling motif take their inspiration from the aura of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting, the Separation of Light from Darkness. “God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.”
While studying in Rome, Sagerman spent many hours in the Sistine Chapel soaking up both its power and its history. Utilizing the deep impressions of that Renaissance masterpiece, the artist has captured the power of that panel by harnessing color and form in a contemporary manner, making paintings both extraordinarily beautiful and also spiritually moving. They are treats not for our eyes alone, but for our spirituality as well.
Merging painting, sculpture, and Jewish mysticism, Robert Sagerman approaches each one of his textured, abstract compositions as an act of devotion. He begins by creating his own rich mixtures of oil paint, which he squeezes in individual dabs directly onto the canvas. He builds up thick, massing monochromatic surfaces in works that toe the line between painting and sculptural relief.
Along the way, he counts and records every single one of his marks and tracks the time he spends on each composition, titling his works after their total number of marks—often reaching into the many thousands. This is in keeping with an ancient kabbalistic practice of meditation through counting, which was seen as a route to the divine. Each one of Sagerman’s paintings, is an act of meditation, the embodiment of the artist’s striving toward the sacred.