Motivated by interests in the interactions of art, architectural theory, music and science, Robert Strati’s work draws from musical notations, engineering schematics, architectural plans, alphabets, nodal networks and maps. Strati’s archival ink-jet prints and sculptures in wire, balloons and packing tape are formalist explorations of two and three-dimensional space that seek to expose subtle, sometimes unseen aspects of our lived experience.
Looking like a strange, complex musical staff or a mad scientist’s secret plan, his prints, composed on the computer, are using the formal interplay of the point, line and plane to explore visualizations of the ethereal. Beginning at either end, top or bottom, left or right, subtle lines, dots and dashes of various weight and quality curve, twist and contort, building to a crescendo and then taper back into the whiteness of the paper. With close contemplation the faint shapes become forms that move forward and back exposing a depth of field not seen at a distance. The simplicity of each mark stands in contrast to the depth of possibility in the implied space suggested by Strati’s arrangement of the composition of these humble elements.
His use of everyday materials like clear packing tape and wire create shadows and movement that offer opportunities for the viewer to consider the “subtle dimensions the shadows suggests and how the interplay between the everyday of the packing tape and the ethereal quality of shadow come together to create something; a gentle step beyond our everyday approach to objects…something as simple as tape can begin to reveal deeper dimensions of reality.”
Like the interplay between the packing tape and its corresponding shadows, balloons tethered by wire bent by hand into geometric compositions floating in the air reveal the forces of the air unseen to our eyes. A flag waving in air reveals to our eyes the invisible power of the wind. So too, slight displacements of air can send a helium-filled balloon careening to and fro. Like the flag, it activates the empty space around it. Strati harnesses this unseen physical activity both literally, with wires that hold the balloons, and metaphorically, by revealing the unseen reality in the physical interaction of the balloon and the air.
With influences ranging from the mystical minimalism of Kasimir Malevich to Da Vinci’s notebooks, Guglielmo Marconi, Agnes Martin, Leslie J. “Airplane” Payne to Gego, and Eva Hesse, Strati coalesces these influences into fanciful and sometimes whimsical compositions that reveal aspects of our reality that are unseen but experienced. An engagement with space both two and three-dimensional is central to his studio practice and serves as a platform to explore the enigmatic, pseudo-scientific aspects of our shared reality.
Robert Strati was born in Boston, MA in 1970 and grew up in Columbus, OH. He earned a BA in Art History from The Ohio State University. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including exhibitions at Sherry Frumkin Gallery, Los Angeles, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH and the International Print Center New York, among others. He currently lives and maintains his studio in Nyack, NY.