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 Ross Bleckner  (1949 - )

About: Ross Bleckner


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: non objective, op imagery-stripe painting

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Ad Code: 2
Ross Bleckner
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ross Bleckner grew up in Hewlett, Long Island, New York; drawing all the time without being aware that other artists existed.   He was the middle child between two sisters; his father manufactures electronic parts   He attended New York University where Sol Lewitt, Chuck Close and others were his teachers.  He graduated in 1972, then spent a year at the California Institute of Arts.  His contacts in the next few years were very fortuitous; Sol Lewitt and Chuck Close, Carl Andre, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, etc.

Bleckner is on the nervous side, beset by self-doubt, insomnia, and gloom.  He is unpretentious, although he is bluntly handsome, with olive complexion, and a compact build.  He is "10 percent that is superficial and 90 percent that has to do with the depths and that is threatened by living.  He is a very complicated individual.  He is a very, very morose, deeply feeling, hardworking artist- he takes a lot from within himself - but always, no matter how successful he is, he feels he is going to fall into those depths." 1

Bleckner first exhibited his work in New York in 1974.  The following year he was given his first one-man show;  he was included in the 1975 Whitney Biennial.. Since about 1985 has addressed many of his paintings to the subject of AIDS- both documenting it as a historical phenomenon and commemorating specific individuals who have died.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Ross Bleckner's Mood Indigo by Lisa Liebmann, in ARTnews, May 1993,
Art and Auction magazine, November 16, 1998
Art in America, November 1996
Art in America, May 1986

(1) quote from Betty Cunningham of the Cunningham-Ward gallery

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ross Bleckner's large-format pictures utilize both graphic designs and representational images such as flowers, birds, cages, grilles, drops of water, oceans and chandeliers.  These are represented in front of an abstract background and he often uses flickering light to create challenging visual experiences.  For Bleckner the canvas is "a place where countless different meanings cross and enter into relationship with one another."

Bleckner was born in New York and studied at New York University until 1971 and then did graduate work, receiving his M.F.A. at the California Institute of Art.  He returned to New York and in 1975, had his first solo exhibit and was part of the Whitney Biennial Exhibition.  He has also had solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Lars Larsen, Art at the Turn of the Millennium

Biography from
Ross Bleckner emerged as a central figure in the revival of American painting, a position he has solidified in the 1990's.  Through various subjects and motifs - optically dizzying stripes, nocturnal landscapes, funerary urn, memorial imagery, chandeliers, abstract domes, birds, sunflowers and constellations - Bleckner evokes memory, desire, and irony in order to examine the uncertainty of the human condition, while simultaneously celebrating the transcendent principles of nature and the cosmos.

Bleckner's principle focus is the theme that pervades his work: light in a series of essays for the catalogue of his retrospective at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum March 3 - May 14, 1995, written by Lisa Dennison, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Solomon R Guggenheim museum; Thomas Crow, Professor of History of Art at the University of Sussex and Simon Watney, critic.  Bleckner's work was placed in the context of recent art history. The text and show explore the interplay between Bleckner's painterly inventiveness and the rediscovery of themes and effects used by artists of another age.

Works by Ross Bleckner are in the principle museums of contemporary art including; the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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