An exhibition of Robert Bordo’s recent paintings will open on March 16th at Alexander and Bonin. In these works, Bordo supplements atmosphere with graphic, explicit painting in which colors are darker in tone, line and space are rendered thick and the landscape is saturated with the residue of use and habitation.
Some of these works seek to balance formal concerns relating to color and mass with the symbolic resonance of dirt, mounds, and hills. Others depict the landscape as it is obscured through the windows of a moving car, employing the metaphors of compressed time and distorted memory. Through these recent paintings we see the artist’s increasing interest in allegory, particularly by way of the intercession of objects; a shovel in one mound, a crown on another. Both Dial, 2012 and the evocatively titled The Future, 2012 are effectively obliterated by crescent-shaped swipes, reminiscent of a car’s windshield wiper; the mechanism meant to clear one’s view becomes a vehicle of complexity and commentary. In this way, the landscape comes to resemble its mediation - having been manipulated and enclosed by the viewer in its midst.
When asked in a recent interview about the painting titled Mogul, 2012, Bordo had this to say, “I was thinking about the pile in the painting as a kind of naked, cartoon landscape. I was also thinking a lot about the intense social and political conditions we’ve experienced since 2008. So Mogul refers to a rich and powerful man or woman and also to a pile of mud, a morass.” As such, Bordo’s new paintings seek to address painting’s political and metaphorical capacities through a dream-like series of associations. They comingle images of the green hills of upstate New York with the tumultuous existential uncertainty of the city, just two hour’s drive to the south. They more directly connect the messy work of painting with the life and labor built into our environment.
Robert Bordo was born in Montreal and has lived in New York since 1972. He has been a Professor of Painting at Cooper Union since 1995. In the late 80s and early 90s his work was the subject of several one-person exhibitions at Brooke Alexander, New York. Subsequently he has exhibited with Alexander and Bonin, New York; Galerie René Blouin, Montreal; Mummery + Schnelle, London and Rubicon Gallery, Dublin. He was awarded a Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2007. Robert Bordo has designed several sets for the Mark Morris Dance Group including the 2012 production of Dido and Aeneas at the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts.