Shards of raw vivid, hung from the ceiling like some sci-fi slaughterhouse of the mind (Acts of Will)… the human form, rid of adornment, arched into some convex construct from Futureworld (Affinity)… untolled beauties, stripped or sheathed, crated and set free to float through all of eternity’s caged gleam (Unnatural Causes)…
These are just some of the impressions that come into play upon encountering the wily and wondrous work of British imagist Jeff Robb. As fast as these impressions are fielded though, others slip into the fray. The result: a cascade of incalculable visions, expertly calculated to elicit the optimum wow.
Think Gutenberg’s flip-book set to drive-by and you’ll get some of the bright idea. Picture envisionings ala Philip K. Dick, Buckminster Fuller and Wilhelm Reich and you’ll get some more.
Better still, go to the source himself, as we have below; then take to the works themselves, as shall the world, when Robb and his fellow Shine Artists booth up at Art New York.
According t0 Robb, what’s to be seen is “a completely brand new series called Nightfall, which is a follow on from a series called Freefall, which is a follow on from Unnatural Causes, which is a follow on from Aerial which is…”
“I was using explosives,” Robb continues, “(the Seduction of Io) and some big leaps of faith. People literally got burnt.”
If that’s not a teaser for an explosive showing, well…
Ready? We thought so.
For those who don’t yet know, who’s Jeff Robb and what’s his particular racket?
A London based artist; Royal College of Art trained. With a science degree and a taste for fine wine.
For those who don’t yet know the whole of it, what all goes down in the name of that racket?
Holograms (real ones, not the stuff you read about on the internet) and lenticular (3D) photography.
For those who don’t recognize a few of those forms, and who suspect that there’s more to the stories of the forms they do recognize, c/would you please provide an expositional phrase for each?
The images are otherworldly – they look at first to be conventional, but the figures defy gravity, and occupy impossible spaces. I capture the invisible.
If pressed, what name would you apply to that cornucopia of forms and disciplines (and why)?
Ways of Seeing, adventures in art – discovering new worlds.
How ‘bout if you were pressed to name the bodies of work(s), either singularly or in todo perhaps?
Liminal States – between worlds.
Could it also be called “Gesumptkunstwerk”?
I guess – not a word a use often. I prefer schadenfreude or Garmisch-Partenkirchen when using German.
That said, to what degree might you be aligned with Wagner’s theory of “Total Art Work”?
He was talking about theatre and performance. I’m more like the ringmaster (directing performances) than the Ring.
To that degree, is there any particular work/series where you feel you’ve come closest to achieving a “Total Art Work”?
I made a hologram of a painting I’d done at the Royal College of Art that I thought came close. It’s in the V & A Museum in London now.
Are there creatives with whom you might feel a closer theoretical kinship?
Some work alludes to gods like Rembrandt and Rubens, but Bosch – “Visions of the Hereafter” polyptych… now you’re talking. Or Hell in “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.
Jeff Robb will be showing with Shine Artists at Art New York May 3-8. Pier 94 55th Street and the West Side Highway. For more information log on here.
Interview by John Hood