Joshua Tree Art Gallery Presents Robert Aronson’s Newest Show
By Katie Nartonis
I am grateful that I can make new art in this incredible new place. Working in my new home, on my oils, I feel the exuberance, even the joy of this new medium.
– Bob Aronson
A new desert inhabitant, fine artist Robert Aronson, is showing his recent oil paintings at JTAG (Joshua Tree Art Gallery) this February with a show entitled “Robert Aronson – Ba Midbar – In the Desert.”
A veteran printmaker, Bob began painting for the first time when he and his wife Lisa moved to Yucca Valley in the Spring of 2020. He notes that, “the landscape of the desert was completely new to me. I found it both surprising and evocative. I also decided to begin exploring color (for the first time) in my new work.” He first began working with watercolor and gouache – and then moved into oil-oncanvas.
“An artist friend here in Yucca Valley told me that as an artist working here in the desert, that I can re-invent myself,” he explains. It is this expansion of the process, a widening of the creative lens, that artists experience working here in the desert for the first time. It is perhaps the quality of light, or the expansive views of land and sky, that clear the mind and inspire such kinds of artistic experimentation.
“In this move, the biggest change in my practice is that I paint almost every day, if only for an hour or so. The beauty of painting is, it is always available to me.”
Aronson started out painting what could be described as more standard desert landscapes, such as Joshua trees and boulders. But as his desert works progressed, he started employing elements such as shape and rich color. He confesses that for these recent paintings he is also “trying to express a more intimate relationship with my own spiritual growth, which coincides with major personal change in my life: retiring from a 45- year career, marrying Lisa, and moving to the desert.”
“I have always loved the smell, the touch, and the unpredictable outcome of the print process.”
Aronson began his art education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1968 when he took a course in printmaking while still a sophomore in high school. The budding artist submitted an early portfolio of his paintings to Scholastic Magazine. As a result, he received a full scholarship to the art school of his choice. He chose Carnegie Mellon University, and while there he concentrated on the art of line and drawing. Later, he transferred to the School of Art Institute of Chicago where he explored intaglio printing, focusing on both etching and lithography. He graduated with a BFA, Bachelor of Fine Arts, in 1975.
Consumed by a rewarding career in Jewish philanthropy, it was not until 2018 that Aronson exhibited his work for the first time with a one-man show at Galerie Camille in Detroit, Michigan. It was this 50-year retrospective of Aronson’s work entitled “Landscape as Portrait” that featured his prints and drawings going all the way back to the late 1960s. The brilliant show at JTAG will be his second one-man show. We are fortunate to have both Bob and Lisa Aronson in our desert community.