November 18 - December 23, 2023
From Cluley Projects:
“In his first solo exhibition with Cluley Projects, Dallas-based creative, Robert Weiss presents a series of maximalist paintings from recent years. A filmmaker, painter, and teacher of art, Weiss makes frequent, interdisciplinary reference to art-historical tropes and styles. He then drives these references to surreal and absurd effect. At the center of his practice is a reckoning with painting traditions and the place of contemporary art as both iconoclast and inheritor to these histories. Featuring subjects from graffitied Greco-Roman busts to domestic interiors, Tableau explores the intersecting spaces of art, the figure, and history.
The paintings in Tableau are laid out like intricate theatrical sets: Weiss depicts dramatic figures in settings bombarded by objects, patterns, and amorphous blobs of color. The artist writes that, “many of my tableaus can be considered a form of ‘set dressing,’ with a stage and emphasis on space coordination.” In defense of the uncertain, a painting featured in Weiss’ exhibition, shows a contrapposto marble statue in a room filled with columns, a large shell, and other items. The structure of the room suggests a clear, linear perspective through receding diagonal lines; however, as suggested by the title, “the uncertain” is emphasized in overlapping props and flat abstract patterns. The ease of which Weiss’ impressive and complex compositions experiment with form and subject highlights his aptitude as a storyteller and social critic.
Weiss is a part of a larger movement by contemporary figure painters, after minimalist painting of the 1960s-70s, to reincorporate expressive mark-making into their field. His contemporaries include Christina Quarles, Salman Toor, and his mentor at Syracuse University, Jerome Witkin; however, Weiss’ enigmatic use of historical styles mixes contemporary inspirations with that of Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and other Old Masters. All these influences come together in the artist’s claustrophobic, and often humorous, tableaus. The effect is a contiguous look at the history of art with all its loose ends and eccentricities.
Tableau will be Weiss’s first solo exhibition with Cluley Projects.
About the Artist
Robert Weiss (b. 1983) was born in Galveston, Texas. He moved to Dallas to attend Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts. In 2005, he received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and in 2014 he received an MFA from Syracuse University where he studied under Jerome Witkin.
After receiving his BFA in printmaking, Weiss relocated back to Texas where he taught painting, drawing, film, and ceramics at Ball High School in Galveston. Weiss, along with his students at Ball High School, created a film titled Ike: A Documentary the Story of a Torn City Rebuilt by Everyday Heroes. The film reveals the devastating and catastrophic effects Hurricane Ike impacted Galveston with and the incredible resilience of the community following. During that time, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Teacher of the Year Award from Galveston Independent School District for his notable work on the documentary and with the students.
Weiss currently teaches Film and Studio Art at The Hockaday School in Dallas while continuing to work on his own short narrative films, documentaries, and paintings. Weiss is the co-creator of the feature-length documentary film about a mortician who is grappling with his legacy in the coastal town of Galveston, entitled “Song of the Cicada.” The film has garnered the award for Best Documentary Feature at the Burbank International Film Festival, the Lone Star Film Festival, Atlanta Docufest, as well as the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Austin Film Festival. He currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas.
About Cluley Projects and Erin Cluley Gallery
Erin Cluley Gallery’s satellite gallery Cluley Projects opened in April 2021 and is housed in an 1100 sq ft space on Sylvan Avenue within walking distance from the Belmont Hotel. Cluley Projects will act as an incubator space focusing on regional artists and providing a platform for discovery and mentorship.
Erin Cluley Gallery opened its doors in West Dallas in 2014, igniting a creative movement and acting as a hub for visual arts and community engagement. After nearly five years on Fabrication Street, the gallery moved its main operation to Riverbend – a development in Dallas’ Design District celebrating the intersection between culture and commerce. ”
Reception: November 18, 2023 | 4–7 pm
2123 Sylvan Avenue, Dallas TX 75208
Dallas, 75208 TexasGet directions