Robert Otto Epstein
b. Pittsburgh, PA 1979
Lives and works in Maplewood, NJ
University of Pittsburgh, B.A.
My work consists of drawings and paintings on paper based on vintage/1980s/1990s knitting designs for clothing and home decor. I explore the representation of the body inherent in instructional charts for garments, as well as the coded nature of the signs an symbols cast in torso and sleeve designs. The work couples the visual vocabulary of fabric diagrams with the digitization of 1980s era 8-bit data schemata.
My primary interests are in modes of production or 'the machinery of making.' I consider the body at work in the vain of Gilles Deleuze's 'desiring machine'—as a kind of round-the-clock factory model where the assembly of 'being' and 'doing' and its creative wares are one in the same.
I cull my source material from 80s and 90s knitting pattern books. From there I create a grid on paper and begin to draw, line-by-line and square-by-square, each ‘pixel’ of the pattern. I always work from bottom to top and from left to right, making sure to follow the pattern precisely. I work very systematically, even obsessively, painting each sign and symbol, and paying particular attention to every marker on the 'map.' As such, my paintings are as much about the repetitive, mechanistic process that I perform as they are about the final product.
Current and recent exhibitions include: Inside Voices, Parallel Art Space (New York); Grid/Graph, Mulherin + Pollard (New York); Uprise Art at Chelsea Market, Chelsea Market Concourse, (New York); Pattern and Embellishment, Drive-By Projects (Watertown, MA); Sleeveless Cardigan, Mt. Comfort Gallery (Indianapolis, IN); The Machinery of Desire, Retramp Gallery (Berlin); Affordable Art Fair, Uprise Art (New York); When Will We Grow Up, Finch & Ada (New York); Autumn Exhibition, Finch & Ada (New York); Private Eyes Salon, Finch & Ada (New York); Leisureland, Maloney Fine Art (Los Angeles), and By All Accounts They Look Away, Envoy Enterprises (New York).