Why paint books?
I paint paintings and make sculpture and re-create old unwanted books through the use of painting and drawing and imagining.
Book as object and art allows me to enhance what already exists. I’m both playful and serious when using serendipity and precision in cutting, manipulating, collaging and painting. All the books are unique, and usually graffitied, foxed, water damaged, or otherwise unwanted. This combines my love of language with visual and sensual art. Often the old paper, the smell, and the description of knowledge and poetry inspire what I paint; inversely what I paint may evoke more writing from me – clear, barely legible or asemic.
The book is given new life. Previous words and images peek through or are covered with layers of paint, sometimes the narrative story is overlaid with more narrative. Each original page is inclusive to what I am painting. It folds or opens or lies flat; containing a time past below the surface of the present story I put upon it – each embellishment places history upon history. The changing nature of the paper and print underneath the paint is part of the character of each book.
Using paint in book form allows painting to be endless and sculptural, is the book a painting or is the painting a book? Each page is only one aspect of the painting, a mark or brushstroke. The open book – sometimes even the open and turnaroundable book – creates an open undefinable “book”.
Robin Ross was educated at the University of Colorado (1977 BFA) and New York University. She formed her personal sense of color and immediacy as a child, influenced by Degas, Braque and Brueghel reproductions. At eighteen she went into a brief coma, a near death experience that brought a lasting quality of deep spirituality to her life and work. In 2011, following four decades in New York City, Ross moved to Crestone CO where she lived and worked until her death in February 2015.
Ross had solo exhibitions in New York City at L.I.C.K. Ltd., Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Keyspan Energy, The Independence Community Foundation and Belanthi Gallery; Beside Myself Gallery in Vermont, Evoltus Gallery in Florida and Point Gallery and Shumei International Institute in Colorado. Group exhibitions in New York City included Art in General, P.S. 1 Museum, Marymount Manhattan College, St. Joseph’s College, Longwood Center for the Arts, and Tabla Rasa Gallery. Two and three person exhibits include Marymount College and ZGD Dance Co. both in NYC, and Maclaren Markowitz Gallery in Boulder CO, among many others.
Her paintings have been reproduced in publications including Art in General Manual 1992-1993, The New York Daily News, And Then, Flying Into the Sun, and Zeek Magazine. Ross appeared on Live at Five as a featured artist on WNBC, in an independent film by David Varga about her project “Animal Postures”, and in “Robin Ross: Robin’s Healing Hands” by international filmmaker Leybe Diaz. Her work is included in many private, corporate and public collections, including Pfizer Inc., the International Monetary Fund, Corporate Office Properties Trust, the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel, Kentler International Drawing Space, Ohm Acoustics Inc., and the University of New Mexico Hospital in Santa Fe. She authored “Open Doors”, a book of artist interviews. Ross was the recipient of three Sage Brush Fund awards, an Independence Community Foundation grant, a Gottlieb Foundation Emergency Grant, and a residency co-sponsored by the American and Spanish Embassies and Adesjo Fundacion in Ocoa, DR.