Getting to know Robert Aldern

Written by: Russell McKnight

November 28th, 2018

Robert Aldern was an American modernist whose work (painting and drawing) was informed by the landscape of the Great Plains and specifically by the muddy colors and small seasonal shifts of Southeast South Dakota. Aldern was part of the post WWII generation of artists that expanded university art education by leaps and bounds; he spent a career teaching at SDSU, USD and finally Augustana University.

His personal artwork is a response to the local landscape. I never met Mr. Aldern but have come to appreciate his work for its visceral strength and keen observation. Work that appears simple and direct becomes a nuanced meditation on small color shifts and translucent patterns, available to the viewer if she is willing to continue looking without preconception. His work is not to be missed.

Piper Arts, formerly Piper Custom Framing, has a meaty selection of work on display though the end of the year. This may be your only opportunity to see a strong selection of Aldern’s work in one place.