Robert Bohné, King of the Kitchen, oil on canvas, 12″x12″
Robert Bohné, Close to Home at Church Street Gallery, West Chester
Bob and I loved the same man. Francis Tucker was mentor and friend to both of us, schooling us in the science and technology of painting to create an illusion of reality by understanding materials. Tucker was a great artist and teacher and he loved Bob sharing his knowledge freely knowing the information was going to be implemented in a real way. Robert Bohné has come into his own as a master of the medium of oil painting and has honed a deft hand at capturing live-ness by drawing constantly. At this stage of Bob’s life he is living the fully as an artist and renaissance man, something Tucker challenged me to when I was a young man attending PCA at night. Bob’s recent one man show of drawings and paintings at Church Street Gallery in West Chester presents the scope and skill of his art with impeccable small oil paintings, filled by dynamic naturalism, and cool, atmospheric drawings in charcoal and graphite on paper.
Church Street Gallery‘s premier exhibition was Robert Robert Bohné‘s Close to Home collection with a strong grouping of paintings in the main room and drawings in an anti-chamber in the back of the gallery. Each painting is an exploration of combinations of tone, color, marks and planes, old school underpainting and layers of pigment for light to bounce through, subtle tonality and simple finishing flourishes are satisfyingly thoughtful. Even though Bob is using traditional materials and techniques his compositions feel contemporary and spontaneous. The drawings feel like they are capturing our time and culture with a visual dialog of silhouette, atmosphere and attitude.
Robert Bohné is as generative as Tucker, too, along with his Sketch Club monitor gig he is leading the Philadelphia Arts Meetup group to places and spaces with inspirational views. Bob and a troop of painters work in the field creating plain air paintings in the tradition of the masters, carrying French easels on their backs, clothes smeared with paint. Leading by example, Bob lives his life as a working artist, fearlessly determined to express reality as he sees it through art.
Robert Bohné, Dirty Frank’s, charcoal on paper
Bob is always working on a drawing. He monitors a life model workshop at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, habitually attends Thursday night workshops at the Plastic Club, and draws in public, making pictures of the spaces he inhabits and the people he knows. Working the charcoal to a liquid layer of particles the medium is worked like paint. Using fields of tone and deep dark shapes, adding and removing charcoal until the paper speaks in a language of images, gestures and liveliness. Using art as performance and persona, Bob is a talented singer and guitar player, the artist draws lyrical life into the materials like a music composition.
Church Street Gallery is a traditional gallery located in West Chester’s historic center presenting solo exhibitions by selected artists of the region. 12 South Church Street, West Chester PA 19382 Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11-5, Friday until 9pm, Sunday- 11-3
Written by DoN Brewer except where noted.
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