Robert Lostutter: Songs of War

Opening: Friday, May 5, 2023 6 – 8 pm
Friday, May 5 – Jun 17, 2023

2156 West Fulton St.
Chicago, IL 60612

b. 1939. Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.

Corbett vs. Dempsey is pleased to present Songs of War, an exhibition of new watercolors and graphite drawings by Robert Lostutter. This is the artist’s fifth solo show at CvsD.

Channeling the extreme angst of today’s global political and social environment, Robert Lostutter (b. 1939) presents a terrifying vision of contemporary humanity in a shocking new body of work. Wielding the same incredible craftsmanship and care that have been trademarks of his hand since the 1960s, when he first emerged on the Chicago art scene, Lostutter introduces an element of grotesquerie into his latest delicate watercolors and drawings, taking a brutal, quite breathtaking leap into abjection barely presaged by his earlier works. These figurative portraits—situated in sumptuously rich monochrome or blacker-than-black backgrounds—depict humanoid creatures with protruding jaws, wayward teeth, lolling tongues, exposed brains, and lappets of extra skin. While Lostutter’s earlier figuration featured hybrids of humans and birds or flowers, or tightly bound torsos intimating BDSM, the present disfigured subjects are less hybrid than they are inbred; the intimated is made explicit with the latent utopianism of his work suddenly turned in on itself—a clear indication of the artist’s disgust at our current social atavism. With a title evocative of Winslow Homer’s work picturing scenes from the American Civil War, Lostutter’s series dares to caricature bloated and malevolent legionnaires in an unblinking manner. Like a speculative fiction of New Objectivity—Otto Dix on steroids—these men populate a bleak contemporaneity, staring blankly into the social abyss through eyes as elegantly composed as a pencil or paintbrush can manage.

Image: Robert Lostutter, The Songs of War 3, 2022, watercolor on paper, 14 x 14 inches.