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Street Journals: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Robert Birmelin

September 5 to September 29, 1985

Marsh Art Gallery


It is with great excitement and anticipation that the Marsh Gallery presents this exhibition of Robert Birmelin's work, STREET JOURNALS. We recognize his work as having a significant place in the tradition of art, and have seen the need to introduce the man and his art to the Richmond community. We eagerly await the reverberations from this event and the impact that Robert Birmelin will make on our students and colleagues.

Like Cezanne, Picasso, and Braque, Birmelin is a master of the subtle passage. Birmelin, however, advances passage by transforming the canvas into a thin membrane through which the viewer passes in and out of a deep and complex internal space. If time and space is reality, then his is the urban reality- a constantly shifting mass of life and incident among gargantuan structure and walled-in vistas. Birmelin's painting is a record of his experience here, and he draws on the crowds and events of New York's West 14th Street for his subject matter.

Gerard Haggerty's insightful essay, "Anatomy of Dread," along with vivid descriptions of the environs and characters Birmelin depicts, offers a close analysis of pictorial form in several of Birmelin's canvases. Haggerty's study reveals the import of Birmelin's perceptual strategies in the historical and contemporary context of painting.

With the kind assistance of Robert Birmelin, we have chosen paintings, drawings, and studies that would allow the viewer to follow Birmelin painting process and to appreciate his sensitivity to scale and materials. The catalogue interview- conducted, transcribed, and edited by Eve MacIntyre, WC '85 - is especially revealing of the intent and feelings behind the images he makes.

Publication Date



University of Richmond Museums


Richmond, VA


Street Journals, painting, drawing, urban art, realism, American realism, Robert Birmelin, University of Richmond Museums


Art and Design | Fine Arts | Illustration | Painting

Street Journals: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Robert Birmelin