Robert Ortbal: Neverland

July 20 – October 3, 2008

Traywick Contemporary is pleased to present Neverland, an exhibition of new sculpture by Bay Area artist Robert Ortbal. This will be Ortbal’s first solo exhibition with Traywick Contemporary.

In much of the writing about Robert Ortbal’s work, it is often said that his sculpture is not easily defined; that his work confounds symbols with elusive meanings; that elements morph from one almost-recognizable form to another. While much of this is correctly stated, it is also true that as an artist, Ortbal is very comfortable with both the foreign and the familiar in the references he makes as well as in the materials he chooses.

By using democratic and unexpected materials (among them rubber balls, stickers, chicken wire, flocking and tool dip) Ortbal creates biomorphic sculpture that careens out of walls, hangs ominously as if still growing, and teeters on the edge of reason. He seamlessly integrates the organic and the synthetic by showing his version of the natural world through carefully chosen mass-produced materials and thoughtfully executed industrial processes.

Encountering Ortbal’s work is very much a sensory experience. He presents an uncanny visual narrative to accompany the mysterious workings of nature, and by doing so he acknowledges both the humor and wonder with which he gazes upon the world around us.

Robert Ortbal received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Davis. Among other awards and recognition, he is the recipient of a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation, the largest cash prize for an individual artist in the Bay Area. His extensive resume includes exhibitions at: Oakland Museum of California; Berkeley Art Museum, CA; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, CA; Sculpture Center, Utica, NY; 9-1-1 Media Art Center, Seattle, WA; The Lab, San Francisco; Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO; San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery; Richmond Art Center, CA.

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