Robert Lange, December 2008
Opening December 5, 5-8 pm
The fifteen still life paintings in the exhibition are all focused on the interplay of light: reflections, shadows, and the varying qualities of a range of
Opening on December 5, Still + Life showcases the oil paintings of artist and gallery owner Robert Lange, in his continued investigation into still life paintings. On view through Dec. 20, the exhibit is also a celebration of Lange’s acceptance as the 2008 American Heart Association’s featured artist. A festive reception open to the public will be held on Dec. 5 starting at 5:00 p.m. featuring wine, hors d’oeuvres, and music, at the gallery in the historic French Quarter district of downtown Charleston.
The fifteen still life paintings in the exhibition are all focused on the interplay of light: reflections, shadows, and the varying qualities of a range of light sources. What sets each piece apart from traditional still lives is the addition of at least one non-still element. Works such as “Special Guest,” which features a small humming bird flying within a huge still life, was created with surprisingly realistic renderings of various objects and the small bird, which was painted with playful precision.
“I always look at still lives and feel they lack the tension that is achieved in figurative or narrative work,” says Lange. “For this show I was interested in creating just a bit of movement, although ever so slight, in each of these paintings. This is in order to achieve the feeling you get when watching a bird on a windowsill or when a butterfly lands on your hand. I like to refer to them as “sshhh, don’t move” moments in which you become still as a product of your situation.”
For this show, at first glance it appears to be a traditional still life show with shiny objects and glass vases. However, as you approach each painting you realize that there is a hint of life in each one, and according to Lange, the viewer is struck by a “don’t move” moment. Each object has been meticulously painted into permanence, including the non-still elements, creating an interesting effect for the viewer in which they need to reevaluated the idea of still life all together.
“I imagine that the objects all have their own histories but it is with the addition of actual life that they become stories,” said Lange. “The part that I am most interested in is how equally quiet the still lives are with or without the element of life.”
At 27-years-old, Lange’s painted world gives context clues into the history and collective memory of his life. A mathematical prodigy at 10-years of age perhaps accounts for his disciplined brushstrokes and the stylized geometric division of space on his canvases.
Lange studied under rigid traditional teachings at Pinkerton Academy, in Derry New Hampshire, yet found himself learning new perspectives at the world renown art college, Rhode Island School of Design. He was awarded a 4-year full merit-based scholarship based upon his outstanding portfolio. Lange spent most of his college career showing in multiple galleries in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.
In 2004, Lange’s move to the traditionalist community of Charleston, SC heightened his desire to create the picturesque. After less than a year in Charleston, with a barely dry signature on his diploma, he and his wife opened Robert Lange Studios on East Bay Street. The gallery space, like his paintings, is clean, simple, and strangely familiar and inviting.