Carbondale Arts presented “The Near Distance”, featuring Kirk Robinson, with an opening reception to the public at the R2 Gallery in The Launchpad in Carbondale on Friday, Oct. 12, from 6p.m. to 8p.m. A special preview for gallery patrons and Carbondale Arts members took place at 5:30pm.
In Kirk’s most recent body of work, the idea of distance extended past fundamental process and into the concept of the paintings. For these paintings he’d given the model an averted focal point for their eyes. They are not fully engaged by the camera and their mind wanders as they stare off. The result was a portrait that was intimate in its study of their likeness but also left a void for what resided in that distance. The viewer’s desire to fill that void with their own experience and emotion is the reason that portraiture is and will always be relevant.
“The Near Distance” was a contradiction that described not only the mood of the paintings but also Kirk’s relationship to the process as the artist. It was important because this show represented a return to his studio. He had painted since 2001 but, like so many artists, came and went from the studio due to the constraints of work and family. Since returning to the valley from the front range of Colorado in 2011, Kirk had shelved much of his studio time and entered a more sporadic period of inactivity than any time previously. But art never leaves an artist, and even if its immediate pursuit must be held at a distance, its grasp on our thoughts is forever near.
“The Near Distance” opened the same evening as “Where The Light Gets In”, a new gallery installation by Vallee Noone. Both shows ran through November 6.