Robert Tiemann


“I just work. If I like, I keep it. If I don’t, I move on. I don’t have a story to tell. I try to respond to the best art of my time. I would like to add something to the history of modern art, to make a contribution to the history of modernist painting. As Orosco said, ‘I’d like to carry one grain of sand to the mountain of art.’ Since there is no way to know if that will ever be the case, you just hope you run into something that makes good painting, that ‘works,’ which means you just keep working—and working. You just hope you live long enough.”


Excerpted from “Tiemann’s art thrives on paradox of being in the world but not of it” by Marcia Goren Weser in the San Antonio Light, December 18, 1988:

“I don’t want art to be isolated. I don’t want to create a specific object. Art is only art if the viewer says so, if the viewer gives meaning and value to the piece. Viewers make art, artists just make stuff. It’s like I present myself and if I’m not accepted, then I go on to someone else.”

“Good art makes you think. It is about what you, the viewer, makes it about. The artist’s intention is not important: I am opposed to the notion of ‘significant form,’ that is, one point of view is more important than others or is the correct view … I keep ‘selections’ ambiguous, images that will allow for the most meanings.”

“About the same time that [Roland] Barthes wrote of the death of the author in literature, [Marcel] Duchamp was intimating the same thing about art. I want people to make connections that are surprising to them when they look at my work. Foucault talked about ending up being someone you weren’t when you started out … for me that is a place where all opposites meet, in a very unconscious place that is also very sexual, because it bridges gender. It also bridges race and culture and economics, for we can only ‘be’ in this world when we begin to transcend the superficial gaps that separate us, when we really feel what another person feels.”

“I want to turn everything upside down. Art is now a commodity, to be bought and sold. I want to make art for a little while—not forever; the system (galleries and museums) … is interest only in maintaining its own power … that is the big issue.”


“My work does not project another world. Instead, I’m trying to draw and paint this one.” (For 12 Texas Painters show in El Paso. Work: ‘Dark Square,’ 1984, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 60 x 60”)