Technique & materials
Born near the end of WWII on a Texas Army Air Corps base, Robert was raised in Ohio and received a BA in Chemistry from Earlham College, and later a BA in Fine Arts from George Washington University. He now divides his time between the Vermont Green Mountains and Phoenix, AZ.
Robert learned woodworking from his father and has "always made things." His professional wood turning career started in 1985. His first turnings endeavored to highlight the natural grain of native and exotic woods in classical forms. He then turned laminated bowls, often combining rigid plastics and different wood species. This mixed-media approach matured to include bowls decorated with metal bands fastened with wooden wedges and bowls with gold or silver leafed collars. Subsequently he developed a signature style incorporating resin and metallic leaf inlay in burled wood vessels.
"My work joins the organic with the synthetic in a manner that is seamless and is unified by the common chaos of burl wood and inlay."
Permanent Museum Collections
- Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
- Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
- University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
- Contemporary Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
- Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minneapolis, MN
- Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, PA
- Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI
- 37th Annual Contemporary Crafts Exhibit, Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, Mesa, AZ, 2016
- Audacious: The Fine Art of Wood, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, 2015
- Masters of Contemporary Wood Art II - A Secondary Market Exhibition, del Mano Gallery, Altadena, CA, 2013.
- Vessel Invitational Series - Roberts Wesleyan College Davison Gallery, Rochester, NY, 2004, and Biola University Art Gallery, La Mirada, CA, 2005
- Tree of Life: Wood Art - Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA, 2004 - 2005
- Nature Transformed: Wood Art from The Bohlen Collection - The University of Michigan Museum of Art, 2004, and Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL, 2005, and Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY, 2006
- Contemporary Works in Wood, Ironwood Gallery, Ridgefield, CT, 2002
- Challenge VI--Roots: Insights and Inspirations in Contemporary Turned Objects , Travelling exhibition selected by Center for Art in Wood, 2001-2003
- Embellished with Gold, Decorative Arts Museum of the Arkansas Arts Center, 2002
- Out on a Limb, Vermont State Craft Center, 2001
- Masters of American Woodturning, Snyderman Gallery, 2000-2001
- The Fine Art of Wood, The Bohlen Collection, Detroit Institute of Art, 2000
- Woodturning in New England, Signature Galleries, 1997
- 8th through 13th National Lathe-Turned Objects Exhibition, Highlight Gallery, 1990-1995
- ACC Baltimore, Atlanta, St. Paul, Sarasota, and West Springfield, various years from 1985
- Philadelphia Crafts Show
- Washington Craft Show at the Smithsonian
- Best 3D Mixed Media, 4 Bridges Arts Festival, Chattanooga, TN, 2008
- Best 3D Mixed Media, Austin Fine Arts Festival, Austin, TX, 2008
- Design Competition Winner, Lakefront Festival of Arts, Milwaukee, WI, 2006
- Best in Show, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Omaha, NE