Robert Otto Epstein
b. 1979 in Pittsburgh, PA
Lives and works in Providence, RI
My work consists of paintings on canvas, wood and works on paper. The imagery that I use is culled from the pages of knitting pattern books, fashion magazines, and hairstyle books from the 1950's through the 1980's.
I am interested in systems of production, which could be anything manmade or found in nature—pattern as a means of being or appearing by way of repeating—the pattern as an act, a process, and a product. In my work I explore the way that repetitiveness is structured into discrete forms that are shaped by the prototype, which become the pattern, which become the system, which is itself repeating.
I also make figurative work inspired by clothing models in vintage fashion magazines. I look for pictures that strike me as sentimental or naive. I am interested in the contrived way that these male or female figures pose, how they hold their bodies still (literally and metaphorically) in time and space, how they smile unabashedly or purse their lips, how their subtle and/or banal expressions disguise their latent individuality--like characters in a novel or neighbors in a real American town.