By Kimberlee Meserve
The last time artscope caught up with Robert S. Neuman was in 2007, when his retrospective, Robert S. Neuman: Selected Work 1954-2007, was being shown at the Beard/Weil Gallery at Wheaton College.
At 87 years young, Neuman is still a busy man. Since his retrospective at Wheaton, he has had many themed shows concentrating on specific bodies of work and a number of retrospectives.
Last year, he had a major retrospective, Definition of Place: 1950-2012, which featured over 50 pieces of work, from comics he wrote to his first wife when he was drafted to the Air Force in the ’40s, to pieces he made in college, along with his more recent paintings. The show was exhibited at The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls, Idaho and the Prichard Art Gallery, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. Definition of Place 1950-2012 was a retrospective in more ways than one. It also marked Neuman’s first return to Idaho after a 20-year hiatus.
In 2012, Neuman also had a retrospective at Keene State College that focused on work produced from 1972-1990 while teaching at Keene. That same year, his Ship to Paradise series, influenced by humanist writer Sebastian Brant, was exhibited at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, N.Y. and a year later the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine.
Last year, he exhibited his Space Signs series, influenced by the emergence of space travel in the 1960s, at the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, SUNY Oneonta, N.Y. Neuman has also participated in numerous other solo and group exhibitions since 2007.
Currently, his Lame Deer series can be seen at The Art Complex Museum, in Duxbury, Mass through May 18. Lame Deer was started in 1978 after a visit to the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. Neuman, inspired by the geometric patterns and decorations of the Native Americans, felt that there hadn’t been an artist to pay homage to this important part of our history using an abstract language. The work remains true to Neuman’s personal color palette of saturated bright colors, that mirror the vibrancy of western sunset and evoke a Native American feeling through its geometry.
Looking forward, we can expect to see more from Neuman. He is still painting every day and has been revisiting ideas from previous series in small-scale watercolors. A 90th year retrospective of his work is in the process of being planned, and his Pedazos del Mundo series will be shown at the Childs Gallery in Boston this fall.
Robert S. Neuman is currently represented by Sunne Savage Gallery, Winchester, Mass.; Allan Stone Gallery, New York, N.Y.; Gallery Sam, Berkeley, Calif.; Star Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine; and Childs Gallery, Boston. For more information, visit his website at robertsneuman.com.