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James Robie: GEO NATURE

Updated: Feb 29

A marriage of nature and geometry

I started collecting palm fronds and sycamore branches long before they found a place in my artwork. These elements of nature would accumulate at the lower portion of our property. Having fallen off the large trees, they lay dormant, scattered in the ivy. Periodically I would gather, trim and stack them in the corner of my studio.

Sometimes, when I took a break from carving, I would pick out an interesting looking sycamore branch and carefully flick off the dry outer bark, revealing a beautifully protected inner surface. These curious branch shapes and smooth inner surfaces I found intriguing, and for years I enjoyed collecting them without knowing when and where they would find their way into my work.

At that time, my sculptures and paintings had become pure geometry. Created using only hand tools, they produced an impression of precision. Looking back over the decades, I can see where the geometry and precision had its roots. In my graphic design projects I was using a grid system that tied images and typography together in a precise, logical manner. It was also natural that my photographic eye was attracted to the various geometric patterns I observed in the urban landscapes around me.

In fact everything I was doing had its origins in this geometric world. I was comfortable in this milieu and enjoyed the challenge of using it to create new pieces of art and original design solutions. But things didn’t happen overnight. I had lived with these natural elements for years before I decided to take the first step and integrate them into my artwork.

There was no master plan or vision –– just an attempt to let the pieces inform how they wanted to be used.

In some pieces the natural elements stand on their own. In others they are combined with hand crafted geometric shapes. Together they represent my very own GEO NATURE.

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