SUNDAY is pleased to announce the pairing of a sculptural installation by New York-based emerging artist Hilary A. Baldwin and drawings by the late Louisiana-based artist Royal Robertson.
Often fabricating inconsequential objects like potato chips, batteries, bricks, floor tiles, and Christmas lights, Hilary A. Baldwin assembles objects and text recreated from her archive of found things in seemingly haphazard configurations. As a sort of spiritual testing ground or an exploration of what objects are capable of in terms of their psychic presence, the artist’s installations teeter between her aspirations to be both a humorist and a clairvoyant. In this installation, several eerie paper mache’ figurative sculptures wander through the painstakingly replicated rubble, silently guessing at the mysterious stories implicit in the objects around them.
Science fiction, comics, pornography, numerology, and the prophecies of the Book of Revelation heavily influence Royal Robertson’s drawings where religious references mix with brightly colored superheroes, aliens, spaceships, dream houses, ornate temples, futuristic cities, and portraits of his ex-wife. Painted on poster board with magic markers and tempera paint, his works often include calendars in which he registered specific agonizing memories on each date’s block, specifically those surrounding his failed marriage.
Seen together the works of these two artists with greatly differing backgrounds present an intensely personal narrative of everyday life: Baldwin as a haunted gatherer of forgotten human traces and Robertson as the author of an autobiographical collection of drawings that chronicle his memories, dreams, and emotional states. Beneath the unsettling surfaces of Baldwin’s objects and Robertson’s scrawls lies the palpable essence of humanity: grief, anger, loneliness, and vulnerability.
Confronting the viewer with exuberance and fervor, each artist employs language for its visual allure and immediacy. For Baldwin the discovery of the words “Ashley need a real man ” scribbled across a subway implicates her as the viewer in some sort of mysterious and elusive drama, which she attempts to recreate; while for Robertson the expressive act of scribbling “Vision Sleep A Bad Bad Xmas for Cursed Earth!” is to exercise a burden, albeit abstract, which when written is somehow materialized and subsequently allayed upon the surface of his drawings.
Hilary A. Baldwin (b. 1978, Brookline, MA) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received a MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Her installation entitled don’t let nobody get you mad was featured in the gallery’s project space in October. In addition, she has been included in group exhibitions in Brooklyn and throughout New England.
Royal Robertson (1936-1997) lived and worked in Baldwin, LA. Trained as a commercial sign painter, that artist is rumored to have studied studio art via a correspondence course that he saw advertised on the back of a matchbook. In addition to his prolific collection of drawings, he created a dynamic installation of signs upon the interior and exterior of his home, which was eventually destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. His work has been extensively exhibited and is widely collected across the United States and Europe. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.