McNeil’s Art II: Painting Class gets Inspired by Rauschenbergs’ Combine Paintings

The most successful combine paintings of Art II: Painting were displayed in the main hall.

As one of the projects for the fourth six weeks, Art II: Painting, taught by Marisa Marsico, was inspired by the work of Robert Rauschenberg, specifically his “combines” also known as combine paintings.

Rauschenberg was a local Texan artist that lived from October 22, 1925 to May 12, 2008. He was inspired by the pop culture and surrealism and expressed the need for his art to be something different, experimental and not so serious.

Rauschenberg’s combine paintings are a combination of several different mediums which include paint, sculptures, printmakings, photographic material, and/or random objects. It can be viewed as a hybrid between sculpture and painting. Some of the different dimensioned objects that he used were newspaper clippings, wood, animals (taxidermied), parts of buildings (cornices) or fabric.

As said by Rauschenberg, “I wanted something other than what I could make myself and I wanted to use the surprise and the collectiveness and the generosity of finding surprises. And if it wasn’t a surprise at first, by the time I got through with it, it was. So the object itself was changed by its context and therefore it became a new thing”.

Art II: Painting was assigned a task of developing a theme and then finding different mediums to use for their project. They were given at least three hundred magazines to tear or cut from, fabric scraps/pieces, a box full of random objects, paint, masking medium and anything else they could find. The only rules that were given for this project were to put effort into it, create layers and be loose.

“The combine painting consisted of images and colors that inspired me. It was somewhat similar to a doing a collage.,” junior Julia Bailey said. “I was very intrigued how free and easy-going the project was. It inspired me, in the sense that it was completely up to me to find and choose the colors, images and/or materials that I would need for my project.”

In Art II: Painting, the combine painting project lasted for around two and a half weeks.

“Overall, the students either liked it or hated it, it was a 50/50 ratio,” Marsico said. “The purpose of the project was to encourage the students to be loose, open minded and to create a painting that was outside of the box. The paintings didn’t have to be crafted thoughtfully, just bold and had to have a common theme.”

The successful student paintings were the ones that had the best compositors that represented unified imagery and color.

“I considered the project to be quite hard because usually when painting I use water and paint,’ sophomore Yewon Lee said. “What we did consisted of cutting paper (from magazines), material (carpet samples and fabric scraps), using objects (paint brushes, flowers, other paper and photographs) and painting over and over to show layer.”