Kyōsei

Kyōsei

Robert Lostutter is in no way capricious. He does not move wistfully from thing to thing, but instead burrows deeply into an image or idea, excavating any available variation – a different angle, a change in gradient, an untried value – thereby demonstrating the importance of details, the high-stakes game of taking nuance seriously. Working on one of his masterful drawings, he’ll make nearly undetectable shifts by revisiting areas, adjusting lights and darks, buffing and honing the leadwork into a kind of ultimate existence. Graphite has been central to Lostutter’s practice since he began in the early 1960s, at times serving as an ideal medium for sketches, but just as often leading to terminal works on paper and even the rarely-seen format of pencil on canvas. In recent years, he’s been committed to the investigation of gray-scale portraits, including ones of increasing ambition in scale and resolution. In the works for Kyōsei, he’s explored both ends of lightness and darkness, creating several portraits that nearly evaporate into their ground and several with a rich, shadowy gunpowder tone that’s as velveteen and sumptuous as it is difficult to execute. The imagery is a continuation of Lostutter’s invented tribe of fantastic, harlequinade men – part human, part bird, part flower. Like John Graham’s mystical cross-eyed women, Lostutter’s bare-chested flock of floral fellows are psychologically loaded, projecting a complex interior thought space, a luminous penumbral membrane between day and night, persona and atmosphere. “Morning begins to brush the sky,” writes Lostutter in the poem that gives the show its title. “The day wolf chases the jackrabbit down/Sunset slope/Tender night/Suddenly I find the sweetest hours/Midnight light/Midnight floor/This is the ghost that I leave behind.”

Kyōsei

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