Robert Slutzky was born in Brooklyn in 1929. He studied at the Grand Central School of Art, Art Students League and The Cooper Union School of Art in New York in the 1940s and early 1950s. Then in 1951 he attended Yale University, where he studied with Josef Albers, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller and Ad Reinhardt, receiving a BFA in 1952 and an MFA in 1954.
After graduation, his first teaching job was at the University of Texas, Austin, where he taught color, drawing and design in the architecture school. At this time he jointly formed the 'Texas Rangers', an influential group of architects, artists and theorists, concerned with incorporating the ideas of avant-garde twentieth century artists, especially the cubists, in the teaching of architecture.
His paintings of the 1950s and 60s show broadly the influence of geometric abstract artists, such as Mondrian, Diller, Reinhardt, as well as the teachings of Josef Albers. In the mid-1960s he began to paint diamond-shaped canvases, using the unusual shape of the canvas to imply an extension of the work beyond the limit of the canvas.
The Tipped Paintings, painted in the late-1960s and early 1970s, were an extension of this idea and aimed, in the artist's words, "to provoke a more active dialogue between the orthogonal figural elements and the field".
The angles of the Tipped Paintings range between 5 degrees and 45 degrees, changing either subtly or dramatically the way one views the painting and the space surrounding it, hinting at outside forms coming into the picture plane, and upsetting the stasis of the conventional canvas.
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