Robert Seyffert “Urban Automobiles”

William Holman Gallery

poster for Robert Seyffert “Urban Automobiles”

This event has ended.

The exhibition places Seyffert’s most recent New York cityscapes and automobile paintings in dialogue with his earlier works from the 1990s and his first explorations of these subjects in late 1980s while he was teaching in Baltimore. Seyffert’s works in this exhibition depict mid-to-late 20th century cars within both real and imagined urban landscapes. Vehicles that defined the changing desires of the American dream, from a 57 Chevy to a Pontiac Delta 88, are painted with the intention of inciting memory. Yet, the detached and almost voyeuristic aesthetic of each of Seyffert’s scenes renders the works even more compelling. The virtuosic use of oil paint excites the viewer’s sense of beauty; “Whether it’s a big tree or a 1965 Pontiac,” Seyffert said, “there’s something about the light hitting the subject that excites me, and that’s what I paint… I’m trying to get the sensation created by the thing I’m looking at, and not just copying it” (Howell, 2003).

As these classic cars vanish from the urban landscape and are relegated to the domain of car shows, Seyffert’s Urban Automobiles are reminders of an age of American industrial prowess set within a gritty urbanity that has increasingly given way to gentrification. A keen sense of observation enhances each work. The viewers delight in the details of chrome and glass, while also identifying the characters painted within; the scenes sometimes include portraits of art historical figures peripherally located to the cars. Figures such as Tanager Gallery regulars Sam Goodman and Willem de Kooning stand as observers within Seyffert’s vignettes, enhancing the aura of nostalgia.

In his latest works, Seyffert has collaborated with New York City graffiti artists, including the seminal graffiti artists Tats Cru, on three tagged giclee prints of his paintings. Additionally, Seyffert has conceived of frames that are painted by David Yearwood aka “Mdot Beatz” of the South Bronx, New York. David is member of the artistic community involved with the “Point” - a creative after-school program, based in the Bronx, NY.

Robert Seyffert lives and works in the Bronx. His interest in the relationship of nostalgia and the urban landscape correlates to the ever-changing status of graffiti art, moving from the streets to the gallery world.



from June 05, 2013 to June 16, 2013

Opening Reception on 2013-06-05 from 18:00 to 20:00


Robert Seyffert

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