text image: ROBERT TREAT

Robert Treat - Detail of art work Robert Treat - Detail of art work

About the Work

My paintings and my photographs are both process driven. Because they are totally different mediums the processes are quite different. They do relate, however, with a similar visual language and concerns. Included among these concerns are: structure, distilled simplicity, intimacy, memory, eros, and ambiguity of narrative.

About the Paintings

I love painting and drawing because it is such a peculiar act—that of visually manipulating tangible things, making them into odd, flat, and strangely ordered images on paper or canvas. It is endlessly intriguing and revealing.

The process of painting is a very personal exploration… the real power lies in the act itself. If my paintings are to communicate something of worth, the message must be delivered primarily through a painting process that is itself a struggle. My work is both lyrical and structured and these elements are inseparable and constant. The structured image is often obscured by gestural, often violent strokes of wax/paint. This process is a search for order while, at the same time, recognizing the need for inevitable chaos.

I try to work intuitively, for I feel this is where we tap into that thing which makes our voice unique. Putting aside any preconceptions of the direction that the work should go, I just respond to previous marks, decisions, actions, and let the work evolve spontaneously. Some passages resolve themselves instantly while others are worked and reworked. Often there are scores of images buried in the layers of wax/paint that have been left behind by this evolution of process. I find these traces of visual ambiguity that hint of the painting's development to be quite exciting.

About the Photographs

For me photography is a very personal and intimate event; both in the act of capturing the image and the act of viewing it. Rather than making images of the grand landscape, I prefer to focus on the small details, the ones that often go unnoticed, with the aim of transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary. These details are usually nature driven and devoid of people…but not necessarily devoid of human existence. It's my way of simplifying a complicated world.

While working primarily monochromatically, the structure and light of an image generally prevails over any subject matter, hopefully capturing the feelings that lie beneath the surface…the ambiguous, the mysterious.

I usually set about with no preconceived idea of what I'm going to photograph. I allow the camera and the mood of the moment to guide me. This approach is not only helps me see and feel my environment, but also gives me the wonderful freedom of photographing with no expectations, no plans, no right or wrong.

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