About

Andrew Cornell Robinson (b. 1968) is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City.

Robinson's oeuvre encompasses paintings, ceramic sculpture, installations, and an array of works on paper such as drawings, prints, collages, and photographs. Early on he was apprenticed first to an abstract expressionist painter and then with a ceramist, experiences that catalyzed his interest in bridging hybrid craft traditions with contemporary ideas about abstraction. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art and received a BFA in ceramics from the Maryland Institute College of Art, followed by a MFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts. After he moved to New York City he began a daily drawing practice that continues to this day and informs an expansive visual vocabulary that he uses in his paintings on canvas, paper, and porcelain. During a residency at the Edward F. Albee foundation, Robinson shifted his focus from parallel practices in ceramic and painting, to an integrated approach to making; beginning to experiment with arrangements of painted or printed panels juxtaposed with figures, vessels, and fetish objects culminating in altar-like assemblages. These groupings of images and artifacts have become central to his work and function like a secular altar form, reminiscent of the ancestral family altars that he was raised with.

Robinson's work has been presented in group and solo exhibitions with galleries and museums including with the Anna Kustera Gallery, the Fields Sculpture Park at Art Omi, the Ross Art Museum, the Baltimore Contemporary Museum of Art, the United Kingdom’s Crafts Council, and as a participating artist with Debt Fair at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Robinson is a member of the faculty at Parsons School of Design, and he has been a visiting artist and faculty at Columbia University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Greenwich House Pottery, Brooklyn College, Cooper Union, School of Visual Art, and Pratt Art Institute. He lives and works in New York City.

Artist’s Statement
My painting and assemblages combine revisionist histories with queer and peculiar characters whose stories of omission are re-imagined through a codex of images, objects, and installations. In my art, the role of memory does not explore the past so much as it transforms it through obfuscation and abstraction. I begin by imagining a person, place, or thing that I then draw numerous images of, each one reflecting parallel trains of thought. Portraits painted or printed are then obscured, abstracted, or erased. These images are juxtaposed with an assemblage of sculptural artifacts alluding to queer histories in the space between personal and historical memory.
Earlier this year I developed a body of work that incorporated appropriated stills from police surveillance footage used as part of a sting operation to arrest gay men in 1960s Ohio for violating sodomy laws. This work explores “portraits” of these men juxtaposed with a floral still life; a simultaneous representation of the surveillance panopticon, and the vanitas, a symbol of the futility of pleasure. These images are juxtaposed with porcelain forms in which I have applied layers of custom printed under-glaze decals with text, graffiti, and gestural drawings resulting in obfuscations of the images and objects below; an erasure, a pentimento, a residual trace of the portraits beneath.

Studio Notes

Topic: Vanitas, Obfuscations, A Queer Pentimento, Congregation of Wits