By: Carl Straw
Seraphin Gallery is proud to introduce sculptor Robert Roesch to our portfolio. An upstate New York native, Roesch graduated from the Pratt Institute and the State University of New York. He has received over 12 grants; including a Fulbright Specialist Award to lecture in Japan between 2006- 07. Roesch has been exhibiting since 1999 from everywhere from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Egypt and Syria. He is known for his sculptures, which combine structured architecture with graphic and abstract formations. The elements he incorporates in his art, such as wind, water, atmosphere, and time, form a concept he refers to as Transduction. In many of his works he discusses it as a, “change of atmosphere from one moment to another, whether it’s heaven to the underworld, love to hate, sky to sea.” This snapshot in time, almost unperceivable, is what he attempts to capture within his works, this liminal space where binaries unite.
Throughout Roesch’s life he felt a connection to sailing; the simplicity of multiple parts maneuvering to navigate onward, inspired much of his direction. Roesch’s began his artistic journey with pencil and paper, creating visual representations of contrasting forms. After working at a tugboat repair port, he became involved with the medium of metal. There he found the magic of steel -- how quickly the material could be manipulated and its impact as a solid physical structure. Works, such as Rainwall completed between 1985-2009, showcase instances of dimensionality through the layering of material. In combining complex industrial architecture with a 23-karat gold leaf formation atop, the artist created a work symbolizing the union of opposing forces. In many of Roesch’s sculptures there is no clear concept or vision, there is simply material. The sculpture is the final product of Roesch’s response to the material he manipulates. His process relies simply on instance: on how the material reacts to him in specific moments. He discovers his works and develops his vision through these momentary connections with the material.
Roesch’s forms these unique amalgamations as a result of selected elements fusing at precise moments. In East/ West, composed of waxed steel, flat black polychrome steel, and stainless steel, Roesch works with principles such as weight, movement, and rhythm to provide viewers with a different understanding of how shape and line can function in a three dimensional form. Here, the exact action of Transduction becomes apparent, where opposites converge and thus alter their appearance. Forms such as a pyramid are placed at the base, contrasting with the steel armature and allowing for the pyramid to become a focal point. In many of Roesch’s works, the base functions as the heart of the true sculpture, and whatever he places above the base is intended to accentuate it. It is through this alteration of our understanding of form and composition that Roesch’s pieces become so striking.
Within the past 10 years, Roesch has begun to work in the public realm, and has expanded his vision to produce works on a massive scale. Amongst his 20 public art projects, including the Gateway to the city of Wichita Kansas and the entrance to Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi, energy flow is a crucial principal in the formation and creation of his sculptures. By playing with artistic elements, such as shape, line, and scale, Roesch continues to develop of this energy and dynamism. In his smaller sculptures, Roesch focuses on how opposing materials, sizes, and structures will correlate, and how their direct energy paths will collide to create the ultimate goal of Transduction. This same mentality is visible in the larger displays Roesch invents, wherein he consistently strives to attain the level at which opposing forces meet and the balance of energy is stable.
Robert Roesch has been known in the Philadelphia art community for many years, not only as an artist and a member of the Philadelphia Art and Architecture Commission, but also as the Chair of Sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Seraphin Gallery is proud to introduce his work in our sculpture garden. 3 of his works, Rainwall, East/West, and Saiph (Safe) feature prominently in our location. Roesch’s work has been collected all over the world including at the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, the Glasmuseum Ebeltoft in Ebeltoft, Denmark, and the Kyoto Institute of Technology Museum in Kyoto, Japan. Expect Seraphin to be showcasing Roesch’s work during the Autumn 2017 season.