Starstruck … and Awestruck … by Brian Rutenberg

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Starstruck … and Awestruck … by Brian Rutenberg

Dawn Boyer with Brian Rutenberg

Me with Bri­an Ruten­berg. I think you can see the thrill on my face.

This past week­end, I had the great priv­i­lege of see­ing the work of Bri­an Ruten­berg at the Cotu­it Cen­ter for the Arts. Bri­an is one of my top five favorite artists, and I’ve spent many an hour in awe of the paint­ings in his book (now out of print, unfor­tu­nate­ly) and online. He also has a won­der­ful series of videos in which he gen­er­ous­ly shares his phi­los­o­phy about life and art, tech­ni­cal tips, and glimpes into his stu­dio prac­tice. I often watch the videos before I start my paint­ing day–they nev­er fail to inspire, and twice now, they’ve helped me reach break­throughs in my own work. I thanked him for that.

For me, Bri­an has become a men­tor of sorts, even though I knew him only through the inter­net and his book.

Dawn Boyer with Brian Rutenberg

I’m the one with my hand over my face because Bri­an said some­thing pret­ty fun­ny about the art world. I’m not going to say what, though. Thanks to my artist friend Judy Andrews for tak­ing these pho­tos.

So, imag­ine my thrill when I walked into the CCA and saw his paint­ings for the first time in real life. It was a moment I’ll nev­er for­get. I was awestruck. I actu­al­ly gasped, that’s how strong an emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence it was. His paint­ings are huge–sometimes sev­en or eight feet long–and so full of vibrat­ing col­or bal­anced by areas of calm seren­i­ty that one feels pulled in among a swirl of tan­ta­liz­ing ener­gy that yes, leaves a per­son breath­less but ever so glad to feel that way. The tex­ture is a sight to behold as well–some areas are two or three inch­es thick, and then oth­ers are thin­ly glazed. There’s a won­der­ful push and pull, a tor­rent and an eas­ing, that occur in all his paint­ings, and as an artist, I appre­ci­ate the skill with which Ruten­berg accom­plish­es what he does. It’s not easy by any means.

Dawn Boyer talking with rian Rutenberg

Me talk­ing with Bri­an (what did I say to make him laugh?), joined by my artist friend Dar­lene and her hus­band, Hen­ry.

In addi­tion to absorb­ing the paint­ings, I got to lis­ten to and meet Bri­an. Talk about a thrill! I felt like a lit­tle starstruck kid. I don’t often ask to have my pic­ture tak­en with some­one, but I couldn’t resist on this occa­sion. Bri­an is a big presence–physically and energetically–but he’s also warm and friend­ly, and very approach­able. He doesn’t have much patience with the hoighty-toighty atti­tude of some art cir­cles. For him, art is some­thing to be expe­ri­enced and shared and delight­ed in, and I love his enthu­si­asm and sense of won­der about it. We had a nice con­ver­sa­tion about his tech­nique, and we joked a bit, and I tried to learn as much as I could from him in the all-too-brief few hours I was there. I’ll always trea­sure the mem­o­ry, and I thank this won­der­ful artist for his gen­eros­i­ty of spir­it. What a dif­fer­ence his art makes to my life, and, I’m sure, the lives of many oth­ers.

If you’re near the inner Cape, make sure to vis­it this exhib­it. You’ll be glad you did. It runs through Octo­ber 18.

By |2017-03-02T20:20:58+00:00September 25th, 2014|Art Exhibits, Artists I'm Influenced By|1 Comment

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  1. How Other Artists Inspire Me October 4, 2014 at 11:07 am - Reply

    […] my last post, I men­tioned my thrill at meet­ing Bri­an Ruten­berg, one of my favorite artists. For me, Bri­an […]

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