from World Copy Express, December 1996 by Catherine DeRiesthal It should not surprise anyone familiar with the paintings of Robert Sievert from the seventies (1972-1979, his Green Mountain era) how his work has grown. His new work has the same depth and spatial savvy exhibited in those years, but now moments of great clarity are arrived at by deft and knowledgeable brush work, which even in lesser paintings is always aggressive and emphatic. As well his color has taken a step. In Sievert's new paintings there is an eschewal of color as color, color has become light, it no longer has a formal existence. There are two categories of recent work: plein airs, done on Staten Island, Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Brooklyn; and a series of more formal landscapes done in his studio. There is clearly a constructivist's hand at work in the larger studio works. In these paintings he first creates large spatial divisions and then paints into them with an energetic technique. However the entire painting is totally integrated with color, mood , and a fresh painterly surface. The artist has taken his expressionistic impulses and contained them within a landscape technique. Just as these studio paintings have expansive soaring nature, his smaller plein air studies are riveting and intense in the manner in which Sievert captures so much with so little detail. The paintings vibrate with accuracy on a holistic scale. The space, light, color and forms ring true and give a rendition of the natural world that is visionary. Here is a recent statement by Sievert on painting outdoors: " Plein-aire painting is a challenging endeavor. I rather think of it like singing or playing an instrument. One must use all of oneself to accomplish this act of concentration. You must focus on the situation in front of you and use every trick you have ever learned. One gets in shape to paint: truly plein air painting is a performance art, and yet there is an outcome, a landscape painting." Large studio paintings such as GRAVESEND MIST (1995) are clearly the descendents of the 1978 harbor paintings in which ships and skyline advanced and retreated in and out of painterly space. Now the environment enveloping the ships and structures in the paintings has achieved a unity in which gesture, color, and transparency form an image of mood and place. These landscapes are immersed in the language of twentieth century painting. The artist uses techniques as divergent as cubism and expressionism to serve up solid realist images.