Robert J. Quackenbush, Jr.
When I was twenty-five, I knew that I was supposed to be a painter. Ultimately, it took me another twenty five years to get to a point where I had the freedom to pursue this dream on a full-time basis. During the intervening years I spent my available free time in art school. Wherever I lived I found a place to go to school. It started in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and it continues to this day. Whenever I had a place to use as a studio, I painted. When I didn’t have space, I painted in my head. In 1996, I was able to free myself to paint on a full-time basis. I got into two group shows in 1997, and since then I have had fifteen more one-man shows and participated in numerous group exhibitions.
For almost four years ending in 2002, I participated in the Empire State College (SUNY) Studio Art Program. It was an opportunity to create work in New York City and have it critiqued by renowned artists, museum curators, art historians and art critics. For example, my work received favorable critiques on three occasions from Robert Storr (then curator of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art).
From 1996-2005, I had an opportunity to study with Alexander Shundi almost every Monday afternoon in his studio in Amenia, New York. Alex taught me how to see, how not to be afraid of my imagination, and, most of all, how to create work that made uncommon sense. I owe Alex a great debt of thanks.
I credit the time I spent at Empire State’s Studio Program, as well as the invaluable opportunity to work with Alex Shundi, as the two most important components to any success I have had as an artist.
In early 2005 I moved from my studio in the South Bronx to my new studio in Leawood, Kansas. Since moving to Kansas, I have had fifteen one-man shows. In 2006 I was invited to join the Hand Print Press, a group of printmakers working out of UMKC and in 2010 the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art exhibited one of my prints. I am currently working on metal sculpture projects in the Crossroads in Kansas City where I have developed a line of artistic, custom metal furniture. In 2012 I received a Design Excellence Award for this new venture.
In 2007, I opened a teaching practice in my studio to teach drawing and painting. Now, commonly known as StudioQ, our group has received a lot of popular notoriety and many of its participants have gone on to have successful exhibitions of their own work. In late 2016, StudioQ will move to its new location in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, MO.
Since moving to Kansas, my work has been added to many private collections, as well as to the corporate art collections of Sprint/Nextel, American Century Investments, Emprise Bank, West Plaza Properties, The Truman Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
For me, each day is full of new ideas and I am blessed with great facilities to explore these ideas.