Wisconsin Portrait – “The upbringing that I experienced occurred in homes decked to their ceilings in wildlife art. I consider works by rural artists, wherein fantasy moments are created depicting large deer in heterosexual pairings bedding in the snow, and pheasants flying up dramatically from harvested corn fields. For many from my region, these works are a vision of fine art, despite their ongoing exclusion from the art historical canon. Most often these wildlife works are heavily romanticized, and plainly some degree of kitsch, but they are successful – valid – because they operate through a visual language rural Americans are fluent in.
“I haven’t lost comfort in the visual language of wildlife art, and I haven’t lost appreciation for my upbringing. Though, in having distanced myself, I’ve gained a more critical perspective. Queerness is not absent from the American hinterland. In fact, I see it everywhere. The trouble comes from a lack of acknowledgement, and the bleeding of human heteronormative perceptions over the natural, fluid environment. By subverting this commonly heteronormative imagery, I emphasize queerness and flamboyance within these rural spaces. Conversely, in generating wildlife art, I extend an invitation to those who may feel excluded by the elitist nature of the art world and its institutions.”
Student Arts Program official selection 2021
See more of Robert’s work at rmsculpture.com
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