Robert Dente, Painter and Printmaker

NEW YORK REMAINS A MARKETING CENTER but it has not been a creative center for at least two decades. Robert Hughes was saying as much in the early Eighties. Artists live where they like, where they can afford. They spend just enough occasional time in New York to get to know galleries where their work fits the stable. Gladhanding is an art in itself but it is not the primary one.  Good art is still made across the country by serious artists who have decided against the bruising demands of seeking name recognition in advance of the perfection of their work. They choose, instead, a more balanced life off the networking circuit—that burdensome round of openings, gallery-hopping, bad wine and the pretense of interest in Artist X’s next show.

That brings me to Gallery on the Green in Canton, Connecticut. The gallery is the oldest artist’s guild in the state. It was founded in 1960, during the movement away from established galleries. [At the time in New York, that meant away from Madison Avenue.] It was the era of the founding of the Tenth Street galleries which gestated Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, Red Grooms, Alice Neel, Wolf Kahn, Phil Pearlstein, Elaine de Kooning, and so many, many more.

Robert Dente, a particularly gracious painter-printmaker, exhibits at Munson Gallery on the Cape and Kevin Rita’s Brick Walk Fine Art in West Hartford, CT. He is currently featured in Gallery on the Green’s annual Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Invitational. “Apparitions, Milestones and Reflections from a Visual Odyssey” is an aureate title for an ensemble of works that are modest in the best sense of the word. His atmospheric landscapes employ some of the same motifs that Paul Resika uses—the architecture of coastal towns and maritime images—but with greater regard for their identity. That means greater affection for what they are in themselves, unswollen by showroom demands.


Robert Dente, "Sea Sides Cottages with Distant Storm"


The moodiest and, to me. loveliest images are the near-abstract landscapes with tonalist sympathies:


Robert Dente, "Hilltop Gap"

Included in this exhibition are several motifs new to me. These bound figures make undisguised reference to Christo’s maneuvers. But more than that, they serve as delicately remembered icons of art history at a time when history itself is bound and silenced by the tranquilizing forces of the present.


The exhibition remains on show through May 22nd. [It is accompanied by an all-day workshop at the Canton Public Library: Painting: Still Life, Figure, and Landscape, Saturday, May 7th.]

Note: Brick Walk Fine Art is not in New Haven, as previously listed.  My mistake. All fixed above.


© 2011 Maureen Mullarkey


1 Comment

  1. These are lovely, mysterious mostly-abstract pieces… Very daring. I like em very much. Thank you for bringing this artist to our attention! And I agree, it can’t always be about New York… We live where we live! Please visit my website and blog if you get the chance, and thanks again for the lovely post!

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