While I was an undergraduate student in the early 1970s’ at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning, I audited the lectures of Colin Rowe. His comments on transparency as a layering device influenced my lifelong visual exploration of the optical mixing of opaque oil paint. This technique may be employed to create phenomenal transparency, lending the illusion of depth to a flat canvas. In many of my collages, the elements I choose have areas that will ultimately be translated as phenomenally transparent in the medium of oil paint, creating an equivalent palette from the collage source. I have been working with transparency as a layering device for many years, throughout the 70s 80s and 90s and from 2000 to present.
Below, are excerpts from the obituary by Margalit Fox, Published May 7th, 2005 ‘Robert Slutzky, 75, Painter and Architectural Theorist, Dies’ Top of Form
”In his first teaching job, at the University of Texas, Mr. Slutzky became deeply influenced by two colleagues: Hejduk and Colin Rowe, an eminent architectural theorist. With Mr. Rowe, Mr. Slutzky wrote "Transparency," which explored the idea of architectural space as a painterly entity, as complexly layered as a Cubist canvas.."
The essays in "Transparency" center on the ambiguity of the title word. "Transparent" can denote something that is literally see-through, like a window. But it can also denote something that is not, like the layered planes of a Cubist painting, discernible one behind another. Paint and canvas are opaque; the painter conjures transparency out of pure form.
The illusion of transparency defines architecture. Painters have two dimensions at their disposal; architects have three. Transparency mediates between them. It can give the illusion of depth to a flat canvas; conversely, it can flatten a building into an abstract arrangement of geometric planes. Transparency helps the built landscape meet the eye.”