A Word On This Work...
Robert Rauschenberg, Mock Blue (Urban Bourbon Series), 1989, acrylic on enamelled aluminium, 48 1/4 x 36 1/4 in / 124.5 x 94 cm
Rauschenberg began his artistic production during the late '40s, in the wake of Abstract Expressionism. He wanted his work to bridge the gap between art and life
, and to question the distinction between art and everyday objects. The artist employed a wide range of subjects, styles and materials, in line with his belief that, 'a painting is more like the real world if it's made out the real world.' Rauschenberg's approach was free and experimental
, and his inventive use of materials broke down long-established distinctions between medium and genre.
In his Urban Bourbon
series (1988-96), Rauschenberg worked with silkscreened imagery and expressionistic paintwork on enamelled, mirrored, and anodised aluminium. Naming the series after the all-American whisky, it is wittily suggested that his paintings can be considered artistic reflections upon urban American society. His interest in the utilisation of metal
as an artistic medium began in the mid '80s, as he exchanged canvas board for flat sheets of metal.
Rauschenberg created a vivid collection of works during this time, juxtaposing the natural tones of different coloured metals, such as copper, brass and aluminium, with the application of acrylic and enamel paints and photographic images. Looking at Mock Blue
, 1989, Rauschenberg's signature gestural style, or 'free-painting'
technique as he liked to call it, is strikingly apparent. Against a sea blue backdrop, reflective depths overlap in an arrangement of green, red and yellow brushstrokes.