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New Accession Highlight: Across the Floor

We’re featuring a rotating selection of new accessions in the back Rowland Gallery. We’ll highlight each of the new additions here, and encourage you to make an appointment to come see these new pieces in person. Today we’re featuring Across the Floor by Madison artist Robert Schultz.

Across the Floor by Robert Schultz

Robert Schultz, American, b. 1953, Across the Floor, 2003, graphite on woven paper, 21 1/8 x 7 5/8 in., gift of Gary Klotz, 2020.17

Schultz creates meticulously detailed portrait drawings, many of which explore the expressiveness of the nude human body. Through body position and gesture augmented by objects and physical spaces, Schultz produces open-ended narratives about the people he depicts. In this drawing, a nude person of uncertain gender lies on their side on a hardwood floor with their back to the viewer. With bent legs and arms wrapped around the head, the isolated body may be in a state of comfort or distress—an ambiguity complicated by the cracked and chipping wall behind the figure. One interpretation of the composition might be as a memento mori—a reminder of death—attracting viewers with beauty while also reminding us of the passage of time and our own vulnerability and transience.