Robert Paul Saphierworks in a variety of mediums – watercolor, acrylic, pencil, pastel and egg tempera according to the requirements of idea and subject.
Various subjects are depicted in his work: landscape, window view, still life, portraiture and sacred geometry. The organizing principle forming the undercurrent of his work is a mathematical base which finds form through geometry; hence, his use of the Golden Ratio, also known as the Golden Section or, in the Renaissance, as the Divine Proportion. Based upon a certain numerical ratio, it establishes a harmony between visual intuition and mathematical logic.
While visual art – specifically painting and drawing – may not exist in time as does music, it is his hope that with each viewing one will perceive shifting rhythmic relationships, multiple color harmonies, and an evolving imagery assuming an infinite number of masks. A perpetual ‘newness’ exists; previously unknown aspects become manifest. In this way, art – as life – is perpetually one step ahead of both artist and viewer, forever eluding a singular, static mode of comprehension.
Artist’s Statement :
I love to paint and draw. I have always had an emotionally intense response to things visible, to images intuited through perceived clues -as if nature were holding up cue cards – and to those visualized mentally. At the same time, I have wanted to create works of structural rigor. My ideal involves a harmonious merging of emotion and intellect. To me, a work of art should evoke a visceral response and yet also induce a state of calm and measured contemplation.
I have worked in a variety of mediums – watercolor, acrylic, pencil, pastel, egg tempera – according to the requirements of idea and subject. Various subjects are depicted in my work: landscape, window view, still life, portraiture, sacred geometry. The organizing principle forming the undercurrent of my work is a mathematical base which finds form through geometry; hence, my use of the Golden Ratio, also known as the Golden Section or, in the Renaissance, as the Divine Proportion. Based upon a certain numerical ratio, it establishes a harmony between visual intuition and mathematical.
“He’d sit out by the river, basically almost without moving for hours and hours,” Mrs. Saphier said. “He’d paint and draw in the wind and the rain. Dogs would come up and shake off beside him. People would be talking to him. It didn’t matter. He just sat there and painted.”
His multiple sclerosis also lead to Mr. Saphier to take up the medium of egg tempera for many of his works. Egg tempera is composed of egg yolk and pigments and dates back to the Renaissance age. “Because of multiple sclerosis, Paul couldn’t use oils,” Mrs. Saphier said. “He started to react to the fumes. So he took up egg tempera. It was the perfect medium for the translation of his artistic ideas. (It) requires a careful composition, which enabled him to use his love of structure and geometry.”
It’s also very time consuming, she said. “It’s layer upon layer of translucent coloring,” Mrs. Saphier said. “It creates a very luminous effect and the colors don’t diminish over time like oils.” Mr. Saphier also used a geometric relationship pattern for much of his art called the divine proportion, also known as the golden ratio. It’s a geometric ratio (1.618) often found in nature and thought to be aesthetically pleasing.
“After he was introduced to the concept, he discovered that his artwork had already incorporated it intuitively and he started to do it more consciously,” Mrs. Saphier said. “For a while, he was working out his art compositions according to mathematical principles and applying them … His work became more abstract and he became more interested in pure abstraction.”
But there was one constant about Mr. Saphier, his wife said. “His mentality was vast, yet his nature was childlike and very simple,” she said. “Everything about him was always fresh and original.”