“My Inspiration? PEOPLE. Every person you meet is inspiring if you take the time to really listen to them…” – Artist Andrew Breitenberg
The Rutter Family Art Foundation recently unveiled its newest exhibition in the Work | Release Gallery, now popularly known as Commune NFK. The exhibit is representative of a myriad of Norfolk – Virginia Beach / NEON District – ViBe Creative District connections; the first of which resulted in the new Commune location in the Rutter’s Texaco building. Here, The Rutter Family Art Foundation now boosts an impressive pairing of fine and culinary arts.
The fine art exhibition, entitled “You Are Always With Me,” featured Virginia Beach-based artist Andrew Breitenberg and is comprised of 15 new works, made up of 115 individual prints. Each print is made using an old offset printer’s press. The conventional oil-based inks are mixed directly onto the press rollers by hand, and then thick, uncoated paper is run through the press. Think monotype—without the glass, plexi or metal plate.
Of this exhibit, Breitenberg says, “Ultimately this show is a single piece of art––the energy formed by the interaction of all those depthless fields of color.” The show also included lengthy titles for each piece which the artist intended to bridge the abstract works with the viewer, taking them on a type of pilgrimage with the artist. The titles, such as “You will rise again my child” and “The hidden wonder we share” are fragments of a travelogue. The viewer could organize a unique poem according to the journey undertaken through the work, or quietly reflect on the color studies.
Breitenberg, whose family has lived in Virginia Beach’s North End for 15 years, has traveled the world and even lived for several years in South Africa. But now, you can find him daily in the ViBe Creative District at Commune VB where he also has prints and an Instagram-worthy mural (a collaboration with Commune owner Kevin Jamison) on display. The artist and owner met at Commune VB in early 2016 and hit it off.
“We were talking about the relative merits of second-tier 20th century artists, the beauty of local community, and the spiritual life of plants… all within the first 10 minutes of meeting each other,” said Breitenberg.
The following week, Jamison and Breitenberg collaborated on their first art event titled “Eat Your Art.” Commune VB provided artists with flatbreads, puréed roasted golden beets, purple beets and kale for three different colors from which guests could create art to then eat. The unconventional event fit perfectly into the ViBe Creative District neighborhood where Commune VB is located.
Next, the pair discussed their fascination of color, especially the shades found in artwork by American abstract expressionist painter Robert Goodnough. Together, they collaborated on the garage door mural located outside Commune VB. Inspired by a Goodnough painting entitled ‘Squares’—Brietenberg matched the painting’s stunning palette of colors with options from his favorite spraypaint manufacturer, Montana. The end result excited them both and has continually popped up on social media as the ultimate selfie backdrop since its creation.
The friendship between Jamison and Breitenberg carried over from Virginia Beach to Norfolk—when Jamison was offered the opportunity to expand his increasingly popular farm-to-table restaurant Commune. Here the artist was offered the opportunity to significantly grow the scope and scale of his artwork courtesy of The Rutter Family Art Foundation. The exhibition was the artist’s first major installation in five years.
“Working with the Rutters is a gift,” said Breitenberg. “They are people that believe in the value of art.”
All of the works from the exhibition, which ended Sunday, are available for purchase. Contact the artist for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.