Robert Cartmell

American, 1933 - 2018

Painter Robert Cartmell, who is also a renowned roller coaster enthusiast, works in a tradition that could be loosely connected to Philip Guston and other members of the so-called second generation New York School, who preferred a more lyrical variation on the blood-and-guts formula of abstract expressionism. Although he is a generation younger than these artists, and prefers figurative over abstract references in his thickly impastoed canvases, Cartmell’s distinctive touch comes through particularly in his drawings, which are often more explicit in their references to daily life. Many of Cartmell’s paintings actually depict the roller coasters that he has made one of the focal points of life, although he often deploys them as a metaphor for the risks and excitement that face all of us in the process of day-to-day living.

Robert M. Cartmell, 85, died Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at his Albany home. He was born in Los Angeles and lived throughout the US with his military family. Following service with the US Air Force in Korea,  Bob received his BFA at the University of Chicago and his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. 

A Professor Emeritus of Art at the State University of New York at Albany, Bob had a distinguished career teaching printmaking, painting and drawing from 1971 -1998. He was an internationally recognized artist and a renowned authority on the history of roller coasters. According to Bob, riding a roller coaster was “the greatest thrill on this planet”.