Q+A with Robert Easton

Q+A with Robert Easton

AS220 Galleries is excited to present a short Q+A with Robert Easton who is presenting his exhibition titled “Soldiers’ Scrapbook” at The AS220 MAIN Gallery which is on view August 6th through August 27th. Robert will also be presenting his exhibition alongside Carolyn Kent who will be exhibiting their new exhibition titled “Pause For A Moment”. A Gallery Reception will be held for these exhibitions on Saturday August 6th 5-7PM. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday 1-5PM, Masks are optional. Email Neal.walsh@as20.org for inquiries, appointments and gallery tours.

Robert describes his new exhibition as follows: This collection of photographs comes from a variety of military museums. Some are local, housed in armories or storefronts, others are from Havana and Trinidad, Cuba, and El Salvador. Some of the images contain fragments of artifacts that carry significant emotional weight. The intent is not to glorify the combatants, but to juxtapose the imagery of a conflict with other elements so as to add energy and interest.

Robert Easton – Cuban Soldier #2

Carolyn Kent describes her new exhibition and direction as follows: The world is clearly a challenging place now, given the political and economic climate, our pandemic, and issues of racial adversity. And I began to observe that some of the resulting negativity was finding its way into my canvasses. After much thought, it occurred to me that I both needed and wanted to change my perspective. Not to ignore these issues, by any means, but to create a place of solace. A pause of sorts. And with that realization, I began creating a new body of work entitled “Pause for a Moment.” I observed, both internally and externally, the beauty and positivity that, despite all of the present challenges, were also present. It was only mine for the taking, and wasn’t that difficult to find, once I looked for it. I merely looked around and through the chaos, and painted “the other side”. This work thus reflects the other side of these heavy times, and creates a sense of renewal for me, and I hope for others who might seek relief.

Q: Can you talk a little about the moments leading up your photograph “Havana Color” that you currently
have showcased in the AS220 Flat-File Project and Online Shop? and why you chose to name that
photograph “Havana Color”?

A: Every trip or project seems to have one image that characterizes the whole group. When I was in
Havana, I would often get up early and wander the streets of El Centro before there was too much
traffic. I’d get coffee, sometimes have a chat, but mostly, admire the resourceful Havaneros who
would do their best to make their home look as good as possible. Often they seemed to use paint, and
some buildings seemed to have several layers. Initially, it seemed that they just used whatever paint
was available that day, regardless of color, but I grew to realize that the colors were a feature not a
bug! “Havana Color” is a good representation of that idea.

Robert Easton – Havana Color

Q: Your Exhibition at AS220 Galleries is coming up this year, what are some insights you can give us? Do
you have any photographs that you will be excited to showcase with this exhibition?

A: For the AS220 exhibit, I’m putting together images from some of the military museums I have visited.
I like the way artifacts, images, posters and flags overlap with differing colors and textures. Some of the
museums are local (there are a lot of armories in RI, which may be another project) and some from Cuba,
as well. One of the images from Cuba was a display case that included a photograph and biography of a
cuban soldier who was born in 1945, and was tortured and killed in 1963. I was born in 1945, but in 1963
I was worried about my SAT scores.
Some of the local images are from the WWII Museum in Wakefield. They have a huge collection of
artifacts from the European and Pacific theaters. Some of those images can be quite jarring.

Q: You mentioned an upcoming exhibition after your AS220 exhibition, “family”. Can you tell us a little about
that? Are you normally working on multiple projects/exhibitions at once?

A: The “family” group of photographs is, in fact, a series of portraits that I have made of artists in their
studios. (I’ve looked at them so much that they seem like family). It began as an assignment before Covid
shut everything down; I think there were ten of them at first. But then an opportunity at Machines With
Magnets in Pawtucket and the Windows on Pawtucket project (sponsored by Art League Rhode Island
and the Pawtucket Foundation) persuaded me to take more portraits, so the family has grown
The next venue for the group, which continues to grow, is the Lower Level Gallery in the Rhode Island
State House. The big prints (36” x 52”) will fill the cavernous gallery space.
I don’t often have big projects to work on, so this is a challenge. Fortunately, AS220 is in August and the
State House is in January, so the SH can percolate in the background while I focus on AS220.

Q: Do you have any other artistic interests besides photography? If not, how long have you been practicing
photography? And what about photography interests you?

A: I am mostly a photographer, but piles of interesting paper in my studio suggest that collage is another
interest. I’d like to think that many photographic images are collage-like.

Q: You have a reoccurring theme of exterior textures, materials, colors and shadows.. Can you talk a little
about this and why this theme reoccurs throughout your series and trips?

A: Exterior textures, materials, colors and shadows are very patient subjects, They can be viewed from a
distance, and examined close up. People have remarked that I don’t seem to like photographing people,
but I would invite them to the Artist Portrait exhibit and show them otherwise.