Fine Art

Grace Visits: Artist Robin Tewes

Baptism3 oil on canvas54x36 1986Baptism # 2, 54″ x 36″, oil/canvas, 1986.

In 1986, Robin Tewes painted Baptism #3, an initiation ritual performed in a dark expanse of water filling the canvas with a deep hued black tone symbolizing beginnings, renewal, and death. This early work is a forerunner of a new series of paintings, drawings and mixed media works that she titled, Men In Trouble. Men who are metaphorically engulfed in water — either drowning, or in a ritual of purification, transitioning  from one state of awareness to another. From the limits of an enclosed space —the “rooms” — we are transported into a boundless world where water meets sky, a floating, psychological journey into the unconscious.

Robin Tewes’ images originate with small collages, which are then blown up and transferred to large canvases, painted and repainted again and again. In them, is a liturgy of brushwork appearing and disappearing, mirroring her subjects’ drowning and re-emerging into the mysterious, horizonless space where the sea meets the stars — an apocalyptic universe of vulnerability.

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In Men In Trouble #4, one man holds up another as they are both absorbed into a vortex of swirling light, falling into a well of obscurity. Is this an act of bravery? A guardian saving a fallen warrior? Or is it the opposite: the redeemed dragging his deliverer into a pit of airless oblivion, expressing both an erotic romanticism and a plunge into despair?

In Men In Trouble #5, the sky is exploding with intense yellow/orange hallucinatory bubbles. Eyes oversee the “rescue” drama being carried out in the cool black water below, communicating man’s relation to man, and to the larger world. Men In Trouble #7  reveals a man clutching a ladder being pulled along the icy clouds of paint, as he slides along a blindingly white ground; the overhead firmament a promise of refuge.

Tewes believes that “[T]here is a need for men to be fragile and vulnerable with each other . . . usually they are not portrayed that way in art history. . . ” Change embodies violence, but the possibility of transformation is offered as a glimmer of hope.

For more on Robin Tewes’ work and upcoming exhibitions visit the artist’s portfolio and “Representing Rainbows” at the Gerald Peters Gallery. She is represented by Adam Baumgold Gallery.

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  • Joan Reutershan September 16, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Robin Tewes work is so rich with psychological, social, political insights–all presented in gorgeous paint. The comments due them justice. Congratulations to both!

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard September 1, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I really appreciate your comments- Merle,Andrea,June and Patricia. Thank you!

  • Andrea September 1, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Robins work is beautiful and would love to see more up close and in person! Thank you Grace for your insightful critique ! Please continue to review art- it is a passion of mine and obviously of yours too!

  • Grace Graupe-Pillard August 31, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you Judith and Phyllis – much appreciated.

  • Merle Temkin August 31, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I love Robin Tewes’s paintings and Grace’s thoughts written under each of the paintings was particularly interesting. Congratulations to you both.

  • June Seligman August 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Very well written article about a perceptive artist whose paintings say so much.

  • Patricia Meko August 31, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Great article. Love the paintings!

  • Merle Temkin August 31, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I love these paintings by Robin Tewes and under each of them, the perceptive comments by Grace. Lovely!

  • Phyllis Rosser August 31, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Wonder paintings. I love the use of realism to create surrealism. Beautiful, clear writing.

  • Judith henry August 31, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Wonderful article on a fascinating artist.