Robert Bohné, Artists' House Gallery

Robert Bohné, Date Night, charcoal on paper, Artists’ House Gallery

Social Realism, Works on Paper, Robert Bohné, Artists’ House Gallery

Bob Bohné explained to me the process of creating mono-prints he has included in the show of drawings at Artists’ House Gallery. “The neat this is, all these things have an abstract quality. When you pull your representational work out of the composition, it’s a wonderful way to come up with an image quickly. It’s a wipe out technique and the image is obviously reversed, too. You use a brayer, put ink onto the plate, start wiping it out and then you print it. And hope you get a good image. I’m working on an etching press that I bought at an auction. I paid $35 for it, they thought it was a pretzel maker but it’s about a $3000.00 press, it has a nice heavy bed to it. I just had to but the blankets and Jessica Barber helped me set it up and we’re in business.”

So let me get this straight: you put the ink on the plate, wipe away your image and then run it through the press.

“Yes, that’s it. It’s like when you’re etching, you lay the metal plate on the bed of the press, you lay your paper on top of it, pull the blankets down over it and then you roll it through. Blankets are felt blankets used to cushion the plate from the roller. A lot of people put the plate down, put the paper with newsprint on top of it , then put the blankets down but this is the same procedure you would do for printing an etching. The result is a mono-type, you get one print and sometimes you can get a ghost print if you run it through a second time and there’s a little bit of ink on there”

Robert Bohné, Artists' House Gallery

Robert Bohné, mixed media on paper, Artists’ House Gallery

Tell me about your drawings?

“The drawings were done in Dirty Franks, some were done in my workshop at the Sketch Club. But they’re all done from life. With the exception of the large piece which is a pastel, that was done from memory. It was an experiment staring at a subject who was standing outside one night and then going back to my car and trying to re-create what I saw from memory. And then I turned it into a finished piece done with charcoal and pastel.

The rest in this room are charcoal with the exception of the one piece that was done with a dried out Sharpie. I think it has kind of a Rembrandt quality with the simplicity of line. But it was just a dried out Sharpie, I got that idea years ago from a woman named Louise, she taught at Fleisher, she used to draw with markers all the time.”

That’s a good tip for people, to not throw stuff out. Simple materials can make great art.

“Yeah, once the Sharpies starts to dry out they have a cool quality to them that you can draw with. Some of the drawings are done from my landscape painting workshop, Philadelphia Art Meetup Group, and Landscape Painting Philadelphia Meetup. I also have some older pieces that are done with charcoal showing Manayunk and places I’ve studied for paintings.”

Robert Bohné, Artists' House Gallery

Robert Bohné, dried sharpie marker on paper, Artists’ House Gallery

Seeing Robert Bohné‘s drawings highlighted in the front of Artists’ House Gallery sends a clear message to the arts community; the basics are often the best. Working with simple, old fashioned materials that artists have worked with for ages creates art that connects directly to the viewer. You don’t need expensive tools, you need imagination and patience to bring the subject to life.

The darkness in the drawings are liquid and deep, the light creates the composition and brings the characters to life. Telling the story is important to Bob, working in public allows him to interact with the subject and find the narrative. On Thursdays Bob leads a workshop at The Philadelphia Sketch Club, then may stay through the afternoon working on a painting and then attend the life study workshop at The Plastic Club. Even after a full day of making art he may still sit at the bar at Dirty Frank’s and sketch.

Robert Bohné, Artists' House Gallery

Robert BohnéSocial RealismArtists’ House Gallery, 57 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Through November 30th.

Robert Bohné studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Fleischer Art Memorial and is the recipient of a Grumbacher award, several DCCC purchase prizes, and was awarded top honors for the best still life in the 2006 Philadelphia Sketch ClubAnnual Small Oils show, Second Place in The Plastic ClubBI show, Honorable Mention in the Multimedia Show, and the Dorothy Invernizzi Guinn Memorial Prize in The Plastic ClubMembers’ Medal Show. His works are in number of public and private collections, including the Delaware County Community College collection, MBNA and DuPont. He is best known for his intimate still life paintings and his landscapes of the Delaware Valley area including New Jersey.” – Artists’ House Gallery


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Thank you to Artists’ House Gallery for permission to post photographs.

Read more about Robert Bohné on DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog

Written and photographed by DoN Brewerexcept where noted.

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