My paintings are a study of memory and time. I’m interested in how human stories sprout from our interaction with our environment, objects, and each other.
We exist in a present moment that is buttressed by a rich and layered past and an ever-unfolding future.
My paintings explore the minuscule role we play in the universal scheme which can actually be quite a liberating experience.
I spent my childhood in Binghamton NY walking along the creeks and riding my bike in the alleys behind boarded-up shoe factories. Those were the good times.
I was also very sick with severe asthma that required long hospital stays where I was confined to an oxygen tent. My days were spent drawing on comic strips and the condensing moisture in the plastic tent would cause the marker colors to bleed across them. I incorporated the naturally occurring forms into my stories. This was the beginning of my art-making process.
My mother, a designer, and proprietor of a studio/gallery ensured that art, architecture, music, and theatre were part of my upbringing. I was inspired by the wonderful artists who visited her studio.
While studying ceramics, I learned about the meditative force of sculpting as well as the natural strength of spontaneous mark-making. I later performed in a multi-media street circus and created giant processional puppets, temporary chalk murals, and light-based installations. These experiences inform my art to this day.
Walking in downtown Tucson where I currently live and have my studio allows me to explore symbols and traces in the urban landscape. These shapes along with figurative imagery from photographs reflect the imprint of modern life and nature that permeates my work.
For me, each painting is a witness of time, space, and artistic energy. I know that a painting has reached completion when it captures attention from a distance and tempts the viewer into an intimate space that in turn requires time and energy to see and experience.
Passage of time
R. B. Kitaj
Acrylics, Ink, Colored Paper
Sanded & scraped layers