Warren Rohrer, Paintings: 1972-93, 2003
Text by Susan Rosenberg
80 pages, Softcover
Published by Philadelphia Museum of Art
This text accompanies the first museum survey of the mature work of Warren Rohrer, one of the premiere abstract artists to work in Philadelphia in the 20th century, bringing together 32 large-scale paintings from the years 1972 to 1993. This selection begins with Rohrer's paintings of the early 1970s, when he first adopted the grid as the underlying framework for his work, and when he first established the imaginative link between the culture of farming and the techniques of painting, an idea that resonates in all of his mature work. In 1984, the artist left the countryside and moved to Philadelphia. With greater distance from his origins, Rohrer became even more directly concerned with his agrarian roots. He made regular visits to Lancaster County, taking thousands of photographs of a field in the area where his ancestor first settled. His late paintings treat that landscape as one to be read - like a book of primitive script - and link the humanly marked, divided and transformed landscape of Rohrer's beginnings to his lifelong search for an authentic artistic language of his own.