Robert Lostutter

The Renaissance Society At The University Of Chicago

Robert Lostutter’s figurative allegiance, impeccably finished surface, and surreal inflection qualify him as a certified Chicago imagist. But in this exhaustive survey of 224 watercolors his obsessional qualities—control of artifice and single-minded pursuit of subject matter—go beyond the local geographical imperative. Instead we have a realer-than-real depiction of fantastical birdmen, fetishes, and exotic icons drawn from a private dream of tristes tropiques.

Some of the earliest watercolors are preparatory studies for paintings; others are framed to expose marginal notes and color samples which afford insight into Lostutter’s painstaking procedures. In these illustrative compositions from the late ’60s Lostutter concentrates on Richard Lindner-esque females in a chance encounter with Peter Max graphics. These pneumatic Amazons are soon replaced by male torsos, often deprived of limbs

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