About the artist
b. 1937 in North Tonawanda, New York, USA
Lives and work in Washingtonwille, New York, USA
Robert Mangold operates a reduction of painting to its most primary elements: shapes, planes, colours, lines, scale and materials. Often working through extensive series of preliminary sketches, Mangold is a calculated and precise artist who has repeatedly been portrayed as a formalist. Yet he has also described himself a “romantic artist” and his line drawings are best defined by their quasi-lyrical quality. Originally responding to the influence of late abstract expressionism and to the rise of pop art, Robert Mangold remains hard to classify even within the canon of Minimalism. In setting up formal problems for himself and for the viewer, his work brings us to look at painting in a way that eludes traditional assumptions. When a painting presents a void at its center our pursuit of a clear subject or object is deterred, leaving us with what is peripheral or in-between as the main point of focus. When a painting presents itself as a column, our intuitive left to right reading gets disrupted. These supposedly elementary problems constitute the core of his practice.