Brian Rutenberg - Abstraction is a Process (11)


Brian Rutenberg’s paintings radiate the atmospheric haze, the shimmering heat, and the rich colors of the Deep South. He describes himself as a “Southern landscape painter living and working in New York.” Layers and details of the southern landscape have been peeled back in his paintings, leaving us with the dancing lines and shimmering pools of colors of the Carolina coastal wetlands.

As I’ve gotten to know Brian through his Studio Visit videos on YouTube, and his book, Clear Seeing Place, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. What you won't hear from Brian are glib, often repeated “feel-good” sound bites we’ve come to expect from motivational books and videos for artists. What you do hear from Brian is his thought provoking unconventional wisdom–a wisdom that has been formulated and brewed in the depths of his mind from experience because day after day, year after year he has simply shown up to do the work of a painter.

In this episode, Brian explains what abstraction is. Essentially “all art is abstraction,” according to Brian. However, most of us view it as a style. Brian argues abstraction is not a noun, but instead is a verb. Abstraction is not a style, but, rather, is a process. Using the tools of abstraction Brian seeks out the essence of the Southern landscape. The result are beautiful paintings full movement, color, and atmosphere.


Brian Rutenberg

A Southern landscape painter living and working in New York

Brian Rutenberg is an internationally exhibited painter based in New York City. He was born and raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Brian received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the College of Charleston in 1987 and his master’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1989. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the College of Charleston in 2018 and delivered the commencement address.

Brian is a Fulbright Scholar, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, a Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation studio grant recipient, a Basil Alkazzi USA Award recipient, and an Irish Museum of Modern Art Residency Programme participant. He has had over 250 exhibitions throughout North America and in Europe. His popular Telly Award winning YouTube series, “Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits,” is viewed daily by people all over the world.

Brian’s paintings are included in numerous museum collections including Yale University Gallery of Art, Bronx Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Greenville County Museum of Art, The Johnson Museum at Cornell, Mattatuck Art Museum, Peabody Essex Museum of Art, and many others. Brian’s 2017 book Clear Seeing Place is an Amazon #1 bestseller and was named one of the Best Books of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews. His new monograph A Little Long Time is due out in spring 2020.

Brian is represented by Forum Gallery, New York; Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte; LewAllen Gallery, Santa Fe; Nancy Toomey Fine Art, San Francisco; and Tew Galleries, Atlanta.

Click on the images above for a larger view.

Mentioned in the show:

Brian Rutenberg's website:

Brian Rutenberg on social media:

Brian Rutenberg's Studio Visits YouTube channel:

Clear Seeing Placeby Brian Rutenberg (affiliate link):


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