Gaillardia Cosmos Dahlia, 2005
Oil, acrylic, gold leaf, silver leaf, mica and glitter on Japanese screen, 69 x 68 3/4 inches
A discovery through a small catalog at work, I've quickly fallen in love with Robert Kushner's work. It took me awhile to narrow down just one work so please visit the links and see the wonderful array of paintings that Kushner has created. Beautiful, rich color makes these paintings pop. Kushner often reuses old Japanese screens and doors as his "canvas" but the Japanese influences spread throughout his choice of base for his painting. While these themes are inherent what is beautiful and makes these paintings unique is Kushner's western traditions in his style of painting. His florals are bold and his composition is seemingly random, the structure one would associate with a Japanese painting is loosened in Kushner's work. Dimension is created through different styles of flowers, from simple outlined flowers to multi-colored depth.
It is fascinating to know that Kushner started out as a performance artist in the 1970s, whose creation of costumes were the beginning of his attention to decoration and ornament. One can see the decoration and ornament of his current floral paintings in not only the color, structure and subject matter but also the use of materials beyond traditional paint to include gold leaf, glitter and more. Kushner was a part of the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s. Artists created work of complex and brightly colored patterns.