Robert Tennenbaum


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Robert Tennenbaum
About the author

I make art because I have to be creative. Drawing as a kid; grade school “teachers art pet;” exposed to various art media at the High School of Music & Art; the creative possibilities of architecture at Pratt Institute and Urban Design and Planning at Yale. My architecture and urban design and planning practice ranged from customhouses to designing a new city and as a prompter for public art. Retired, I am concentrating on making and showing art. Slide photography and travel sketching was a creative outlet through the years of professional practice. In the 1980’s I made slide-based manipulated Polaroid photomontages and abstract photographs. In the 1990’s, for the love of color I painted semi-abstract townscapes in acrylic and watercolor. Around 2000 I began to mine my huge travel and artwork slide collection looking for collage images. I now supplement old slide images with new digital photos. My collage-acrylic paintings combine cut or torn digital prints of my paintings and photos combined with the color possibilities of acrylic paint. I love the contrast between collaged paper and acrylic paint. My work encourages close looking to discover symmetrical-juxtapositions, overlapping-transparencies, positive-negative, figure-ground, opposites-reflections-mirror images, reverse-repetition, and morphing to abstraction. I’m drawn to make art about what I love and am familiar with; I’m surrounded by nature and landscape in Columbia that I helped design, about Paris that I loved and later loved even more with my late Parisian wife. I often make art about Jewish traditions, symbols and mysticism. My Judaic art has been used as book and CD covers, greeting cards, publication illustrations, murals, art glass and a poster in Paris. I now paint a series of abstract city maps based on what I know about the city as an architect and city planner and my feelings about the city as an artist and visitor. The city map, itself an abstraction, serves only as a point of departure for the evolving possibilities of abstraction. I have completed twenty four painting as of June 21, 2013 and am continuing this series. It is while I am in the actual exciting process of making art that I discover new possibilities of form and color and mystery.