Carolinas-based abstract artist Robert Langford grew up in Longview, in the heart of East Texas. After earning a degree in business from Baylor University, Langford pursued a career in commercial real estate in Houston. He spent his days moving through buildings and construction sites and his evenings painting or going to art galleries. He was fascinated by the mid-twentieth-century abstract expressionists, such as de Kooning, Rothko, and Mitchell, whose focus on color field theory and the deconstruction of figures and spaces seemed at odds with the monochromatic glass and steel structures going up around him.
Business eventually brought him to Charlotte, but Langford never stopped studying art. In 2000, he decided to change careers and transition to painting full time.
The interplay of color, shape and pattern is a focus for Langford. He uses these elements not to create recognizable images, but to convey emotion. He sees his paintings as perpetually in motion, shifting with the light and in response to the viewer’s interpretation. Each piece has a will of its own.
Langford has shown extensively in solo and group exhibits throughout the U.S. He was selected to exhibit at the Red Dot Art Fair in Manhattan’s SoHo district during Armory Art Week 2011, as well as at the 2011 and 2012 Red Dot Art Fair / Art Basel events in Miami. Langford paints from his home studio in Fort Mill, South Carolina, where he lives with his wife, and is represented by several galleries across the U.S. Statement: “Available Light” series Artist’s Statement
I’m drawn to the vastness of an empty canvas. Like a stretch of sky or a wide-open landscape, there’s complete freedom in four directions – spatially, moving closer to the corners of the painting, but in another sense, too. I’m free to push the creative process to the outer edges of my imagination. The act of painting happens before understanding, before I ever put brush to canvas. It’s as unmediated as any first encounter where outcomes are unknown. There’s trepidation as I begin, which quickly turns to adrenaline as I listen to and trust my instincts to guide the composition.
In this series, “Available Light,” I’m playing with a term normally reserved for photography. I think of available light as pre-existing light, light that one finds already at work from some outside source. You’ll see me contending with this in all of my paintings, as I seem to return to the idea that there’s some larger, illuminating force at work all around me.
Sometimes what I leave out of a painting is as important as what I leave in. Slightly reversing the steps, taking elements away or diminishing them in some way, brings other elements into focus. I keep coming back to photography, the way rack focus shifts emphasis among subjects or, in a painting, the relationships among colors, shapes and textures. What surfaces ebbs and flows, shifts in the light. This series is about addressing that source of light and drawing the viewer in to see some larger truth, to reveal multiple stories within the story.