Robert Lange, July 2015
July 3, 5-8pm
As artist we develop rituals and practices that aid in the making of our art and for nearly 12 years my nightly painting session ends with an hour-long meditation. This exercise of slowing down and...
The Artist Says: ONE’S As artist we develop rituals and practices that aid in the making of our art and for nearly 12 years my nightly painting session ends with an hour-long meditation. This exercise of slowing down and quieting the mind has had deep effects on my personal philosophies, painted world and general behavior. This cultivation of self-awareness has allowed me to more poignantly direct the subject of my paintings towards the subject matter and concepts I personally believe in. For this body of work, I have attempted to showcase a variety of situations that exemplify feelings and moods evoked within a meditative environment. The paintings are constructed through simple combinations of subject and environment. Although the subject is consistently within a state of quiet reflection or focus, the environment varies from immense open landscapes to chaotic urban scenes. Seemingly possible but not plausible, often teetering on surreal, the works are meant to convey a sense that meditation can take place anywhere at any time. I chose to name the exhibit One’s because of the belief that everyone’s definition of a meditative experience differs. For some a walk on the beach, time in the garden or a morning spent fishing involve moments of quiet mindfulness. Often these are instances free of stress, filled with a simple clarity and play a vital role in recharging our spirit. In “Finding One’s Cure” I chose the backdrop of an early morning sunrise on Kiawah Island, SC. The pristine water and soft gradient of the sky evoked a sense of absolute calmness. Within the scene is a Thai Buddhist monk barely levitating above the water’s surface. The image of the monk came from the Doi Suthep temple, which resides on the top of a mountain outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is the effect of the combined qualities of the monk and the scenery that conveys the sense of overwhelming peace I wish to capture.
American Art Collector writes: Robert Lange has created more than 1,000 paintings over 15 years, but none have ever featured the daily practice so dear to him, meditation, until now. His new exhibition at his Charleston, South Carolina, gallery Robert Lange Studios, One’s, features more than a dozen works crafted from mindful, deliberate painting. Lange spends an hour a day quieting his mind, which he says keeps him focused and energized, while removing stress. Traditional meditative scenes of contemplative figures are included, while the collection also features scenes of resting animals, inspired by Lange’s real- life encounters with them.
Lange has meditated an hour a day for more than 10 years, calling the habit his reset button and his medicine. While, some preconceived notions of meditation may border on it being foreign or froufrou, Lange says one of the reasons he looks forward to the exhibition is to expand viewers’ definition of meditation, to push it forward as a fluid concept of allowing oneself to be present in a quiet or central space. The varying backgrounds on display in his oil on panel works, from the vast open waters in Finding One’s Cure, to the busyness of Chinatown in San Francisco in Quieting the Mind, reflect the diverse experiences Lange has during the practice.
“I wanted to showcase on some days, I’ll sit down and feel my mind is transported to some big, wide-open field that gives a sense of peace and openness,” says Lange.“Sometimes I might feel my mind is in Times Square.”
Many of the subjects in the exhibition’s collection are inspired by real life. The meditating man in Observing One’s Thoughts is his artist friend John Duckworth, who presented an exhibition in which Duckworth meditated while an accompanying video of one-second moments from Duckworth’s life brought a sense of anxiousness that juxtaposed his tranquil state. The graffiti in Lange’s painting comes from an image Duckworth photographed in London, an example of chaos in the painting that contrasts with Duckworth’s sense of quiet.
Lange painted his wife and Robert Lange Studios co-owner, Megan Lange, for the 99th time in Embracing One’s Source, featuring her sitting in an expansive field reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth’s 1948 painting Christina’s World. Megan, who is from Maine and grew up near where the Wyeths lived, says she has always revered the mood evoked within their works and can’t help but feel special every time her husband features her. She adds as the world becomes busier and tenser every day, any practice that aids in calming stress is something that deserves public attention and should be shared.
Their 1-year-old, Teya, is the subject for Defining One’s World, someone Robert says is 100 percent pure, an open being who is about as present as a person can get. On a philosophical side, Robert says he looks at his daughter more as a teacher than a student some times, and that reverence is apparent to Megan. “Rob has an extra twinkle in his eye on the days where he’s working on a painting of Teya,” says Megan. “I am rather certain he will spend twice as long on a painting of her than any other piece of comparable size. She’s the love of our lives, and, therefore, any painting of her will hold a special place in my heart.”
Some of the animals featured in his work include the silverback gorilla in Considering One’s Place and the tiger in Savoring One’s Space. Robert says he and Megan locked eyes with a silverback while at a theme park, as the animal stayed about 10 feet away from them for a half-hour. Robert has painted the gorilla about five times, while he encountered creatures such as tigers while in Thailand, and he plans on featuring.