Static Elecricity: Objects That Light
Lois Lambert Gallery presents a new series of lighting sculptures by Joan Robey in collaboration with Tom Walker. The upcoming exhibit with the Lois Lambert Gallery features thirtyfive new pieces composed of recycled materials, wood, plastic, metal and “old parts.” The individual pieces are either wall mounted,hanging or floor exhibits as well as an installation piece composed of eighteen gabion boxes. After a period of exploring formal functional sculpture in a more minimalist and abstract manner, in this exhibition, together with fellow artist Tom Walker, Robey returns to those techniques used in her first show at the Lois Lambert Gallery by creating pieces out of found materials and transforming them into functional lighting sculptures.
“Static Electricity: Objects That Light” harkens back to Robey’s past shows at the Lois Lambert Gallery that included lighted sculptures. Robey first presented at the Lois Lambert Gallery in 1996, and since then has participated in several solo and group exhibitions. Walker and Robey have been working together for several years, most recently collaborating on a large-scale commissioned piece for The Science Museum in Vancouver. Both artists explore other means of expression through this series by lighting the pieces and working side by side in complete collaboration. Both enjoyed the relational process in creating the show; having the materials speak to one another as well as having each artist’s voice speak through the work. Having worked on more “highbrow” artwork together in the past,
Robey and Walker took the opportunity with this exhibit to create more playful and abstract lighting pieces. The featured installation piece consists of eighteen gabion boxes that Robey and Walker have filled with “leftovers” after creating the lighting pieces. Robey states that the gabion box installation was a very sentimental experience; cramming old materials into the gabion boxes was an enormously different process as opposed to the more formal nature of creating new sculptures. Walker says that the work is all at once playful and serious; useful and frivolous; hopeful and desperate; which reflects how we are as human beings. Composing the works out of recycled materials and old projects was a catharsis of release for both artists.
Joan Robey received her BFA from the University of Florida and has taken selected courses at UCLA and Otis College of Art. Since 1996, Robey has shown nine times at the Lois Lambert Gallery, and has shown in galleries throughout California, including San Francisco, Oakland, and also in Denver, Colorado and New York. One of Robey’s lighting pieces is in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, Florida and several of her lighting objects appeared in the Batman and Robin movie. This is Tom Walker’ first exhibition with the Lois Lambert Gallery. Currently, Walker works as a metal sculptor as well as a welding instructor at Otis College of Art and Design. He also teaches out of his own studio. He is an event organizer and a community activist, working in public art projects that engage members of the community as well as other artists. Walker works with many youth services and events teaching children techniques in welding and sculpture making, that is both physically and psychically safe.