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Robert Sudlow


Excerpted from Artists: A Kansas Collection, text by Patrick Rowley, 1989

Over the years [Robert Sudlow] has sought out high places where he could look out on large muscular land forms, spread out and falling away from where he worked. It is this unfolding, peeling away and opening up that characterizes his work today. There is an omniscient quality to everything he paints, a sense of the heat, the cold, the wind, and all of the most intimate details of the time and place which he is telling you about.

He works spontaneously and intensely on large pieces of canvas. “I get so exalted, so carried away,” he confides, “that often I feel I am painting beyond myself.” He paints almost entirely in the out-of-doors. He attacks the canvas vigorously and abstractly, working quickly and thinly on toned canvas to catch the essence of something that may last less than half an hour. Sometimes, it’s so cold he dresses in his old flight gear [Sudlow was a naval seaplane pilot in WWII and hunted submarines off the coast of California]. When he has finished, he brings the results back to the studio where he can see it again, think about it and look for other ways to say what he wants to say. “When I return with a painting,” he says, “I have air in my lungs and have traveled a distance.”

Robert Sudlow d.2010


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