Alexis Rockman

Rose Art Museum

Famous since the mid-1980s for painstakingly painted phantasmagorical botanical and zoological scenes, Alexis Rockman presented expressionistic landscapes in “The Weight of Air,” his first solo museum show in a decade. Made between 2005 and 2007, the thirty-nine oils on paper, which the artist refers to as his “weather drawings,” take as their subjects hurricanes, toxic emissions, landslides, tornadoes, diminishing glaciers, and evaporating seas. The quasi-abstract, often heroic images result from an improvisational and muscular handling of materials: Rockman pours onto gessoed paper a mixture of oil paints, alkyd resins, and mineral spirits, the density of which varies from thin wash to thick syrupy pool. Using a combination of toothbrushes, palette knives, turkey basters, eyedroppers, and spray valves, he creates energized, scumbled, and stained surfaces depicting extreme natural forces.

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