ROBERT E. GILPIN // the black back door

On view February 5 - March 2, 2014
Opening reception Saturday, February 15 (5 p.m. - 8 p.m.) 

While often exhibited under the limiting category of self-taught, or outsider, art, the paintings of Portland resident Robert E. Gilpin reveal an easy mastery of color, form, and symbolism. Reminiscent of such Impressionists as Matisse and Van Gogh, the sparse interiors, abstract portraits, and cozy still-lifes on view in his first solo exhibition at Nationale, The Black Back Door, tease out specific emotional responses. “I push and pull the tonality of shade for harmony or dissonance,” Gilpin explains. For example, the monochromatic blues of a puffy sofa and table lamp evoke a familiar scene of somber solitude. Meanwhile, jarring juxtapositions of various complementary colors cause a mundane arrangement of flowers and oranges to pop with life. Gilpin grounds these vibrant sensations, however, with bold, direct compositions that avoid kitsch. The result is a subtle reflection on life’s innumerable transitions. Like Van Gogh himself once noted, “one can speak poetry just by arranging colors well.”

Robert E. Gilpin studied English, with a Minor in Art, at Montana State University- Billings. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the country, including such Portland spaces as PDX Contemporary Art’s Window Project, Gallery 500, Mark Woolley Gallery, and Blackfish Gallery.

This exhibition is co-curated by May Barruel and Ty Ennis. With special thanks to Mark Humpal.

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