Category: Pop

Robin Antar

Artist Q&A with Robin Antar

American sculptor Robin Antar was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1957. All of Antar’s current work is rooted in observation. “Whatever is going on, I express it in stone,” Antar says. “It could come out as realism, as an abstract form, or as a combination of both. The style I use is one that best reflects the inspiration behind each piece.”

“Ballpark Frank”, limestone, travertine, mixed media, and steel, 12 x 39 x 16 in | 31 x 100 x 41 cm, 2017

How did you become a professional artist?

Ever since I took chisel to stone over forty years ago, sculpting has been my “language” for communication. I’ve sculpted through teenage angst, marriage, divorce, having children and losing one of them to addiction. 

In my early years, aesthetic beauty and superficial thought were not a concern as I focused instead on fundamental feelings and basic sensations, creating abstracted sculptures with an uncommon perspective, jarring color and anomalous form. I set up a working studio in Brooklyn after receiving my BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and continued carving in a loose, intuitive style rooted in my emotions and personal experiences. I created a series of carved stone knots as an exploration of the formal possibilities of intertwinements. While the imagery of knotting is deeply embedded in our consciousness as a metaphor for unresolvable or transformative conflicts, my choice of marble for this series has connections to nature and high culture in art history. My most powerful work, David’s Knot in Flames, reflects this perfectly. Carved in Turkish marble, I created the sculpture in memory of my youngest son who passed away at the age of 26. The knot represents his pain as a Click here to read more

Alex Cao

Artist Q&A with Alex G. Cao

Alex G. Cao “Immortal” installation view

How and why did you become an artist?

Coming from China to New York City in the 80s was a wonderful experience; a world of beauty and enchantment. While studying at Fashion Institute of Technology, I was fortunate to be surrounded by fashion and beauty while gaining experience working in a creative field. Through work, I was engaging with pop culture, glorifying beauty and a vibrating downtown NYC scene. I began to reflect on the use of logos and classic icons as markers of society, as recognizable as the Parthenon of Ancient Greece or the Roman Colosseum – perhaps even more recognizable.
 
I visited Naples and Pompeii just after graduating to discover these iconic ancient cities which have the most profound impact. Through my travels I was able to identify the iconic styles and architecture of classical Greco-Roman society. In these places I uncovered mosaics which lined city streets for centuries.  I started to make art while engaging with these memories, recalling this trip to Pompeii and building the architecture of my artistic career on the memory of this experience. After spending time in the piazzas of Italy surrounded by these ancient art forms. It was these formative trips that continue to inspire me artistically.

Tell us about your new show “Immortal.”  What is the meaning of it?

This new body of work in “Immortal” blends the pop culture imagery I always inspired and fascinating in with materials including plexiglass, canvas and stainless steel mirrors. The stainless steel mirror holds particular significance as it reflects and augments what you’re already witnessing; even projecting outward. The tension between the relationship of small repetitive images and the large final composition makes this work especially poignant. 

These framed work are … Click here to read more

John Ruby “Impressionable”

John Ruby’s Textured Appropriation of the Late Greats

Image courtesy of Robert Berry Gallery

In his first virtual solo exhibition taking place at Robert Berry Gallery, Chicago-based artist John Ruby has appropriated imagery of the world’s most iconic musicians, and puts a renewed importance on the rock-and-roll side of Pop Art. 

For his new body of work, Ruby is creating digital recontextualizations of famous images of John Lennon, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, and other late greats.  Ruby’s inspiration behind the rock and roll motif seems to be one from the vantage point of an artist who clearly loves music.  Many artists listen to classical music when creating, but this artist clearly loves the electric guitar and all the culture surrounding it.   Every music fan has their idols, and Ruby certainly was inspired by what he grew up with in the 70s and 80s. 

The show is the first online only show at Robert Berry Gallery, which seems to be the new trend in the art world given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, and virtual exhibitions are quite a step forward over the already stale “viewing room” that have been making their way into the online strategies of other dealers.  Not having physical limitations allows Ruby to exhibit these fantastic new paintings during a time when collectors are craving new works to fill up all their free time between Zoom calls and emails.  

Virtual only might be a concern for some, but what is very apparent from the detailed images and video clips uploaded onto the gallery site, is the deep textured surfaces which look to be colored string woven across the surface of the canvas. One can clearly see that there is a handmade painted acrylic impasto as the structural foundation of … Click here to read more