Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe


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“My paintings work through experiences you can’t help but have as long as you’re looking at them. Color makes a space whether you’d like it to or not, the surface that at the same time registers as marks contradicts the spatial expression but in doing so reinforces it rather than cancelling it out. Similarly, you can’t not experience movement while looking at a work made out of more than one color despite knowing that it’s a static object. Matisse was fond of the arabesque for that sort of reason, it’s a combination of two ‘s’ lines that you can’t see as standing still. Because of its grounding in the involuntary, my painting is much closer to music or poetry than to mediums grounded in description and documentation, like prose or photography, lm, or video. You need to look at it without looking for anything speci c in it. At the same time my work is full, and made out of, the logic of color and the emotion that comes with it. Schopenhauer describes how one may listen to a piece of music without being able to say what it is about or of but afterwards feel that all sorts of important questions that were in your head when you went to hear it have now been answered. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
A writer and art critic as well as an artist, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe creates colorful, abstract paintings in gouache, watercolor, and oil that depict both geometric and organic forms in various densities and qualities of light. Often combining elds of color, calligraphic marks, multicolored structures, and miniature squares and rectangles that resemble pixels, Gilbert-Rolfe’s paintings are complex and sensuous. “I think painting starts where argument leaves o ,” he has said. “I nd it much easier to write than to paint for that reason—painting’s what words can’t do or some- thing like that.”

Accolades + Collections
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA Lincoln Center, New York, NY
The Getty Study Center, Los Angeles, CA
Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1979, 1989 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, 2017
Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1997