Author: Lily Kostrzewa

Aurora Robson

Lily Kostrzewa speaks with Aurora Robson

Aurora Robson is a multi-media artist known predominantly for her meditative work intercepting the plastic waste stream. Her practice is about subjugating negativity and shifting trajectories. Her work is a formal meditation on recurring nightmares she had as a child which she hybridizes with forms found in nature. Robson was born in Toronto in 1972 and grew up in Hawaii. She lived and worked in New York City for over two decades during which time she studied art history and visual arts at Columbia University. Recently, Robson moved to the Hudson Valley to raise her two daughters with her husband Marshall Coles.

Installation view of Remnant Romance Environmental Works: Idelle Weber and Aurora Robson.
Courtesy of Hollis Taggart.

Because of my personal interest in female artists, I took the opportunity to interview the environmental artist Aurora Robson regarding her recent two-person exhibition at Hollis Taggart Gallery with her collaborator the late environmental realistic painter Idelle Weber (1932-2020).  Aurora Robson uses mostly plastic waste debris as her main medium to create her artworks. For her, plastic waste materials’ effect on the environment is of crucial concern. This concern is evidenced by her powerful and often colorful artistic representations. 

As a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts grant, she worked at Penn State University to develop an exhibition with plastic waste debris. Her work there solidified in her what I call the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink. 

One might wonder what plastic waste debris has to do with fine art. Well, as it almost always happens, artistic representations are a most powerful form of education. For me, Aurora’s Creations are impactful yet attractive. 

As I talked with her, I started with her making process. She first explained that color was important … Click here to read more

“EXODUS V: Aesthetics in the Political”

The Elixir of Ataraxy in a Sea of Trouble

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

For nine long months the United States has been facing severe distress from the coronavirus forcing the closing of galleries, museums and art centers in New York City. But WhiteBox Harlem continues to independently operate as a community engaged nonprofit venue, a beacon for art lovers for 22 years despite facing numerous crises over the years. Over two decades, it has nurtured many outstanding artists in New York City and abroad, continuing its mission as an experimental center for experiencing new art with social èlan. 

“Exodus V: Aesthetics in the Political” is an exhibition curated by New York-based Kyoko Sato. This remarkable curatorial creates new metrics putting under scrutiny a diverse, singular group of 17 contemporary expat Japanese women artists aged 31 to 84 who chose to emigrate to New York to continue and expand their careers in a less constrained atmosphere than back home. Due to the increasing number of practicing female artists in the art scene in the past 30 years, art museums in Western countries have begun to have many feminist inspired exhibitions awakening the public’s attention to this voluminous subject. Most exhibitions tend to emphasize the inequality between men and women, or talk about women’s sexuality openly such as women’s awareness of the autonomy of their bodies. Time and again, some of these thematic shows unfortunately become cliché. In the spirit of finding a differential, I was quite curious to see how “Exodus V” may be different from many of these other women’s exhibitions I have witnessed.

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

At the opening reception I went through the entire exhibition and interviewed several of the exhibiting artists. I must confess my experience and exchanges observing the whole affair felt like … Click here to read more