Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Artist Lecture: Robert Birmelin

The Halsey has showing up of Robert Birmelin drawings. He was nice enough to accompany his drawings down to Charleston from New York to give a lecture. A giddy and lighthearted old man, Birmelin views the world with levity, brightness, and curiosity. I've never seen a man his age banter so readily with a large group of students. He launched himself into his presentation dropping gem after wisdom filled gem, which my hand hastily scrawled in the dark of the auditorium. You know it's bad when I can't even read my handwriting. Birmelin developed his style during the time of the abstract expressionists, or very shortly thereafter, however he came out a figurative painter. When Professor Phillips ( a student of that era who is still very much an abstract expressionist) assumed that it must have been difficult for him to develop his style under that sort of pressure, Birmelin countered that "everything is going on all of the time." Who cares if the style your working in isn't currently in vogue. It probably will be in 10 years or so. It matters much more "to be true to your own being." That's something every art student loves to hear.

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