Robert Striffolino’s new paintings in his exhibition Vestige of Summer were “inspired by autumn’s embrace on my wife’s gardens around our house.” The large scale of these new paintings will surprise those familiar with his work and grab the attention of old friends and new alike.
Striffolino’s “love of paint and color” is manifest in these large, painterly canvases, the energy of the brushstrokes echoing the energy he feels in the landscape. “Nature evokes in me emotion to paint. The recognition and power of the ‘life force’ in nature is very strong,“ he explains. “As this force is within me to paint, to communicate the excitement of the emotion aroused.”
He continues, “Along with retaining the ‘spirit’ of the image and my emotional response, I always want the expression of paint and ground to be strong and sensual. The painting becomes so much about the dialogue between the image and the painting materials/method.”
He says he straddles the line between objective and non-objective paintings, leaving clues, however, to the subject of his inspiration. “I seem to be more comfortable in a middle ground somewhere between image and non-objective painting,” remarks Striffolino. “I used to describe this as walking a tightrope. If the painting got too abstract, I lost the tension I wanted to feel. If the image got too strong, the same thing would happen – loss of tension. Now I view this as a wider province, a more porous territory between these two (that always seem to have to be differentiated). I allow myself to move in one or the other direction. I feel I have more breathing room. Perhaps a wider berth will sharpen up that line when I feel the need to walk the tightrope.”
Striffolino’s “dialogue” between image and materials becomes a conversation with the introduction of the viewer, a conversation he believes will center on “emotion, color and light”.