Russell Roberts

Russell Roberts, “Pockets of Accumulation #29”, 66”x 50”, oil on canvas, 2010


In Roberts’ abstract paintings multiple gestalts and provocative explorations of painting history combine into images that resist easy categorization. Roberts embraces the flexibility and fluidity of the medium of painting for both its literal and metaphorical possibilities.

Using fragments, layers, lines, drips, washes and erasures his oil paintings depict a stratified and changing world in which multiple formal differences and often opposing elements conjoin to form new and integrated identities. In his complex structures, he collides organic irregularity with geometric and biomorphic shapes, and articulates stretches of canvas with an expansive range of unpredictable and constantly surprising color.

That there is so much to see, is due to a permissive and acquisitive impulse for source material that values inclusiveness and expansiveness as he embraces the world to screen things in rather than to screen things out.

Excerpted from Wanting Fewer Things but Reaching Out for Everything: Pockets of Accumulation: The Recent Paintings of Russell Roberts. By Jennifer Riley, 2010

Roberts works in New York City. He graduated from Vassar College, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and received and an MFA from Boston University in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting in 1997, a grant from the Mass Arts Council in 2002 and an Albee Foundation Fellowship in 2006 and 2008. Roberts was the Artist-in-Residence at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2003 and has been a visiting critic at the School of Visual Arts, the New York Studio School, Boston University, Mass College of Art and the Harvard University GSD.

Roberts’ work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Heskin Contemporary, SUNY Binghamton, UNC Chapel Hill, Farrell- Pollock Gallery, NY, and Boston University; and in numerous group and two-person shows at Jason McCoy Gallery, IUCA&D Indiana University, UNC Pembroke, DNA Gallery, University of the Arts, PA, the Danforth Museum, Bernie Toale Gallery, Nielsen Gallery, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, NYU Washington Sq Gallery, among others. Roberts’ work has been reviewed most recently by Jennifer Riley, Stephen Maine, David Cohen, Cathy Nan Quinlan and Robert Ayers.