art MYSTERY Robert Banat
June 10, 2016
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Portrait photographer ROBERT BANAT has had the privilege to witness some of today’s most interesting artists in the process of creation.

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BOSCO SODI
(image above)
Born in Mexico, Bosco is connected with the spirit of the land, reciting prayers in Spanish as he sprinkles the wet canvases with colored pigments and sawdust of rare and exotic woods; his work is about surface and texture.

HERMANN NITSCH
I watched Hermann create two magnificent actionist performances – one with massive amounts of paint and the other with gallons of pig’s blood. Both evoked a trancelike, altered state of consciousness.

JOHN NEWSOM
John suggested I photograph artists in their studios. He approaches painting like a warrior going into battle. The results are iconic juxtapositions of abstraction with the natural world.

JULIAN SCHNABEL
Eleven seconds – that’s all I had. Julian was installing three large sculptures at MANA Contemporary. As I focused, I watched for that “right” expression; he showed power, restraint and artistic finesse. Five clicks later he ran his fingers through his hair and I knew the shoot was over.

LOLA MONTES SCHNABEL
Lola’s paintings are about struggle, relationships, exploration, spirit and love. She has a rare curiosity, hers and hers alone.

MARIE PETER-TOLTZ
Marie’s creative spirit is revealed intensely in her paintings; she won’t disclose inspirations. Sensuous colors and sensual subject matter make an indelible impression of passion and inner beauty.

VICTOR MATTHEWS
Victor’s studio is like a monk’s sanctuary; he stands barefoot and shirtless, pants speckled in white paint. His paintings start with a charcoal drawing applied on linen canvas in one continuous stream of consciousness, the charcoal not lifting until the thought is done.

RACHEL ROSSIN
Rachel asked for three hours of silence as she painted a meditating model wearing an ancient sacred Navajo Indian blanket. When it was complete, the three of us felt intense connection through active-stillness.

RAY SMITH
Ray’s relationship to art goes beyond his own need to create. He loaned me his studio to present my solo exhibition The Hollow Bone, a collection of thirthy seven artist portraits including a piece from each artist.

RON GORCHOV
Ron saw I was disappointed that he never allows photography of his work, so he invited me to his studio for lunch and to talk. Afterward he very sincerely said, “Come back, and next time you can photograph.” He has become a dear friend and mentor.

ROSS BLECKNER
Ross was the first artist I photographed. I was mindful not to disturb him; I knew I had entered a sacred space and was being given a gift.

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