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Robert Lobe > Statement
Reference Page
Excerpt from Union List of Artist Names [ULAN - Getty], The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles:

Lobe, Robert (American sculptor, born 1945)
Lobe’s sculptures out of rock and trees are often bound by metal sheeting to contort their contours as an environmental warning.


Excerpt from West Broadway Gallery, New York:

About Robert Lobe
Robert Lobe is an American sculptor born Detroit, Michigan in 1945. Lobe grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Oberlin College and Hunter College. Lobe’s early works were included in the “AntI-Illusion: Procedures and Materials” exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 1969.  The focus of Lobe’s work is the passage of time and regeneration of nature, forces of nature and how they’re manifested visually, and random distribution. Lobe uses repoussé, a method of molding pieces of metal around an object, the same method used to create the Statue of Liberty. In Lobe’s case, the metal sheets are "pushed and pulled" around outcroppings in the woods. His hammered metal sculptures, mostly in aluminum, have been represented by Willard, Blum Helman and Senior and Shopmaker galleries in New York. Currently Lobe’s sculptures are on view along the Chicago Lakefront at Soldier Field at the Field Museum, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ (until January 17, 2016) and The Shirley Fiterman Art Center, “The City Lives”, Nov. 24 through Jan16, 2016.


Excerpt from Review/Art: Works From Nature, Michael Brenson, The New York Times, February 17, 1989:
[Exhibition Review: Robert Lobe, Blum Helman Gallery, New York, 1989]

The sculpture of Robert Lobe needs the kind of space it has been given by the Blum Helman Gallery and the Blum Helman Warehouse. In previous gallery shows, there have been questions about the range, versatility and possible academicism of work in which sheets of anodized aluminum are fitted around trees, earth and stone and then hammered into shape. This show does not answer all the questions, but it leaves no doubt about the seriousness and poignancy of Mr. Lobe’s artistic enterprise.

The reliefs (in the Blum Helman Gallery) and freestanding sculptures (in the warehouse) are a bridge between the 1950’s and 80’s. In many ways they are rooted in Abstract Expressionism. They are inspired by reverence for the natural world and a belief that nature is a model for everything. The imagery is literally determined by nature. The movements suggested by the sculptures can be inspired by the crawling of a snail or the flight of a bird.

And, in their own way, these works are heroic. They demand an ability to locate the motif and select the appropriate aluminum for the cast. They require the patience to hammer the surface so that every inch of it is beaten and alive. They involve the struggle to tear and piece together fragments of aluminum so that they will have the energy, conviction and historical consciousness of sculpture.

But Mr. Lobe’s feeling for nature is also branded by the 1980s. The earth has now been so exploited and violated that there is far less certainty than there was 30 years ago of its invulnerability and permanence. Although Mr. Lobe’s sculptures may seem to billow and float with a sweep reminiscent of Clyfford Still or Jackson Pollock, his light, hollow, fragmented works are ghostly skins in which the body of nature is preserved yet absent. There is a feeling of wholeness, but his trees, no matter how tall, always suggest mutilation.

The combination of precariousness and transcendence makes the sculptures moving. In Kings Bluff No. 17, the skin of a piece of forest that could come out of a late Cezanne looks no more solid than crumpled paper. If the tree and stone in Angel are indeed an angel, then it soars with a missing wing. In Harmony Ridge No. 20, a tree and earth suggest a headless bird that manages to fly with clipped wings. We are a long way here from the indomitable white birds roosting in the postwar Studios of Braque, yet in another way we are not far from them at all.

Continued, The New York Times


Additional Information

Robert Lobe Studio, New York


Robert Lobe, American, (1945- )
b. August 15, 1945, Detroit, MI

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