Robert Spellman (1981-2017)

Robert Spellman ( 1981-2017) was an abstract painter living and working in Des Moines, Iowa. His later works were characterized by the Four Elements of Life: Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. This visual was suggested through the usage of vibrant color and confident brush strokes exuberantly filling large canvases. Spellman was heavily influenced by early Japanese art, 1800's Impressionism, and mid-20th century greats such as DeKooning and Frankenthaler. His later body of work incorporated loose uninhibited brush techniques with saturated and vibrant colors. While the paint was heavily applied and layered to cover the entire canvas on some pieces, other paintings allowed the negative space of the untouched canvas to serve as a backdrop for actively moving and conservatively placed broad strokes of color and texture. Robb said "I am really interested in the journey of a painted line and where a brushstroke can take you visually". His various surface applications created a sense of serenity and/or controlled chaos. "I am exploring the concept of creating a work that does not produce an obvious representation but rather invites the viewer to make their own conclusions". The "floating colorfield" series on raw linen and also on raw cotton duct canvas, was very much influenced by early Japanese Impressionism, Eastern-Zen philosophy and various meditative practices. The realization of these explorations can be seen in his most recent body of work (Collection 1).

Spellman's final works employed a variety of mediums to produce a final surface that is rich in color and texture. Raw linen and cotton duct canvas serve as active backdrops to these abstract color field landscapes. Gestural oil point brushstrokes and taped-off metallic linear bands of enamel overlay color-stained surface areas to create a pictorial plain that is unique and vibrant. The unprimed linen is natural and earthy in contrast to the thick swaths of oil paint and enamel metallic bands. The layering of a variety of elements results in a bold and suggestive visual. Each painting's relationship to the Natural World is evident through color and material. Iron oxide (shimmering fleck) mixed with pigment may reference the Galaxy or a Comet, while, silver enamel metallic bands may symbolize concrete, man-made infrastructure. These materials and colors work in unison with the world's natural colors.

For over 13 years, Spellman had the privilege of painting and exhibiting his work in a sun filled studio in the heart of downtown Des Moines. Born and raised 40 miles northwest of Des Moines amidst the grain belt's agricultural landscape, Spellman received his BA in Political Science and Communications from The University of Iowa. He then pursued another degree in K-12 Art (teaching certification) at Grand View University. He was represented by Modern Arts Midtown Gallery, Omaha, NE and Moberg Chicago, Illinois. He was a full-time painter and Art Educator.

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