Robert Feintuch (MFA 1976)
Exhibition at Sonnabend Gallery in New York from May 3-July 25, 2014
(Image: Feet Up, Polymer emulsion on honeycomb panel, 23 3/4 x 19 inches, 2013)
“Rail: What was your experience at Yale?
Feintuch: I learned a lot from Al Held and John Walker and from the other students. I learned a great deal about reductive painting that was coming out of Minimalism and geometric abstraction. I saw Al’s show at the Whitney in 1974. Those alphabet paintings from the ’60s really interested me a lot, particularly “The Yellow X” (1965) and “Mao” (1967). I was very much an abstract painter when I was at Yale, and the work became more and more reduced. Ed Rath, a painter friend, introduced me to Burgoyne Diller and Myron Stout’s work, and when I left my work was pretty influenced by both of them. One of the things I saw in Minimalist work was the way it makes you aware of your own body, how you feel things like symmetry versus asymmetry or verticality versus horizontality in your body, how all of those things have physical effects on viewers. Like I said, I learned a lot from my teachers but I had to get over them too. I knew there was stuff I was missing. I knew I wanted to do something else (…)
Rail: Even if I didn’t know that you had gone to graduate school at Yale, the following would suggest that you may have: One, your paintings are painted with full intention and thoughtfulness; two, they make use of structuralist language, as they are about mediating personal images that are driven to justify the balance between figuration and abstraction—I mean, there’s a serial tendency in the way that you perform the body with restraint, which was predominantly the idiom of the ’70s; three, they offer no apologies for referencing art historical sources, and bringing them into a personal discourse as well as a contemporary context.” (Brooklyn Rail Interview: Robert Feintuch in conversation with Phong Bui)