Stephanie Robison, Close Contact

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Stephanie Robison, Close Contact

Feb 2 — Mar 5, 2022

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Marrow Gallery presents Close Contact, the first solo exhibition from Stephanie Robison. The Oakland based artist works in marble and hand felted wool, The dichotomy of the two materials is intentional, its purpose and significance at odds in its awkwardness. The materials allow a certain freedom, creating work that is intentional and purposeful in its happenstance. 

Sculpture for me is about tangibility and transformation. Being able to manipulate materials with my hands, transforming it into something else, is an intimate and magical process. My latest series of work consists of wall pieces that combine traditional stone carving (mostly marble) and the process of needle felting wool. The combination of the physicality of the process and the labor-intensive demands of these materials allows for a focused, slowing down and becomes a mediation on what is happening around and within me. I’m responding to the materials and finding the forms through action and reaction; the challenge is keeping the work fresh and not overworked. Each piece is a meditation on form, texture, and color. The exhibition title Close Contact refers to this intimate relationship with materials and at the same time gives a nod to the time we find ourselves in, where close contact with another human holds a heightened level of preciousness and danger. 

I have always been attracted to forms that are in direct opposition to each other or challenge their final aesthetic/functional appearance: I intentionally make a carved stone appear soft and sewn fabrics or needle felted wool to appear rigid and architectural. Many of these pieces are marble which is a material that I absolutely love. I find that I can play and experiment with marble in ways that I cannot in other materials. Wool is a fairly new material for me. The process of needle felting wool is amazingly versatile; it can be worked both additive and reductively. I feel stone and wool have much to teach me; skill and material knowledge are an investment in exploration and discovery as well as hard work and practice. I generally use a graphic and bright palette, with highly saturated colors. Although I used color in older works, there has been a change in my thinking about both color and its role. Now with the incorporation of the wool, I am able to blend color on the surface of the forms in a more painterly way by working with gradations of tones or hues so that color becomes an integral part of the visual structure. I use color to emphasize the forms and create a strong edge contrast with the surrounding space thus reconfiguring the spatial relationships between forms. By merging incongruous materials such as wool and marble I am able to synthesize: organic and geometric, natural and architectural, handmade and the uniform industrial, the new and the traditional. And by infusing the work with humor and awkwardness, I can begin to relate my experience of what it is to be human. 

Stephanie Robison


About Stephanie Robison:

Originally from Oregon, Robison currently resides in Oakland, California teaching sculpture and serving as Art Department Chair at the City College of San Francisco. Robison holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Marylhurst University and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Oregon. 

Robison’s work has been exhibited at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Joseph A Cain Memorial Art Gallery and Greater Denton Arts Council in Texas, Whatcom Museum and Tacoma Art Museum in Washington, Marrow Gallery in San Francisco, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art and Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in California, Peter Robertson Gallery in Alberta Canada, Yeiser Art Center in Kentucky, and Site:Brooklyn Gallery in New York.


Stephanie Robison. Reflection — Photographer: John Janca