Robert Putnam: Abstract Formalist

Robert Putnam 003
Courtesy of the artist

Abstract painter Robert Putnam, a retired publisher, has a BA and MA in English Literature. I believe his 30 years of experience in technical publishing has influenced his art-making the most. Putnam describes himself as a formalist, working with color, form, and nature. He uses natural surroundings, aerial views, archaeological excavations, stained glass, and burnt buildings to exemplify his work.

Robert Putnam 004
Courtesy of the artist

Putnum often uses intuition to guide him in his painting and placement of form and color, and he often re-works paintings over the course of several years. He has written 9 books dealing with architectural elements from brick layering to blue print reading, and from countless paper manuals on electrical power grids to railroad bridge maintenance. Putman claims he creates images from his imagination, but I believe much of it is coming from his subconscious and the environments that surrounded his life for three decades.

Robert Putnam 001
Courtesy of the artist

Robert Putman is showing his work at the Brickton Art Center in Park Ridge, Illinois, until October 5th.

Robert Putnam 002
Courtesy of the artist

Watch Putman’s YouTube video to see him talk about his color fields, luminosity, transparency, and floating windows of work at his previous Johnsonese Gallery show. Putman’s work may come from something real or be reminiscent of aerial views of Iowa, but the paintings are pure abstract color and it is left up to the viewers to determine what they see in them.

Robert Putnam can be reached by email at putnamrug@aol.com.

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