Stuart Rapeport

One idea leads to another.

My artwork holds free expression and humor in a delicate equipoise.

Earlier work flowed from one idea to the next without parameters, the Viet Nam War, Performance Art, text, found objects and the ability of drawing; all influenced the mode of fabrication I discovered drawing first when I was scolded as a kid for using the neighbors wall for a coloring book. At University High School Mrs. Bassler taught the eye hand co-ordination of contour drawing, at Cal State Hans Burkhardt taught expressionism with no erasers allowed, and Walter Gabrielson taught us to have fun and keep fingerprints to a minimum.

Combining text with found objects on canvas, canvas stretched to resemble animal skins. The text was used to explain the motivation of the object on the canvas. The objects were replaced with representations of objects and the text was separated from the canvas as time went by. Little paintings with long titles grow from the early work. The diagnostic study of artwork led to the Line drawings and the “Rapeport” portfolio. The text became the “Alfandega Cattauragus” performance at the Newport Harbor Art Museum.

Drawn lines were taken off the paper and became three dimensional objects that could be placed in situ and turn an empty wall into a piece of art. The large freestanding lines moved the drawing beyond the surface, which revealed the content of the space between a viewer and the artwork. That space was energized when a viewer looked at a piece of work. That energy would vanish when another gallery occupant broke the “line of sight”.

Placing figurative sculptures to appear to gaze at wall pieces was intended to artificially energize a gallery space. I placed wood a figure outside the new MOCA building, where it gazed at the multi-colored sign for a number of months. There at that downtown patio, people down on their luck also would sit, and soon pedestrians would ignore the energized field and walk with their heads down to quickly by-pass any panhandlers. Then the Omni Hotel was built and the Critic artwork disappeared, along with the panhandlers.

The outsider disappeared.

While LACMA was being remodeled I worried about Rodin’s Balzac. I reported on the Ghost of Balzac as he wondered the city, Mister Balzac takes a Vacation. In a similar vain a few Dogs explored Hollywood and Fish left the Arroyo Secco to check out Highland Park. I also followed the Giant Grapefruit and documented its trek from citrus grove to LACMA.

While downtown I would observe the feeding of the pigeons by some of local residents (this was before the “do not feed the birds” signs went up). The bird’s relationships to each other created harmonic compositions. These compositions were more balanced than the compositions created by audience members selecting seats in a movie theater. The flock compositions were translated into wall pieces. Following the logic of flocks creating a balanced composition, I began to consider packs of dogs, schools of fish, groups of snails as inspiration for composition. Snails being natural artists, leaving trails, their trails of mucous were translating into abstract painting. Fish out of water created a narrative with an implied tension between large and small fish and the input of a house cat. At a recent solo exhibit I brought in silhouettes of art critics to view the paintings. The interaction of the critics could be felt as they “viewed” the paintings.

One thing leads to another.