Robert Wick: Art That Transcends Life
Category - Contemporary
Written by Patti Cassidy
Editor: Kellie A. Hanna

I stopped dead in my tracks. A reclining figure, geologic in scope and texture, cast its shadow over me. Trees rose from its groin and shoulders. Thigh blended into fin. Its head was carved with strata lines. Evolution, from earth through man, lived in one piece. This was Landbridge I.

Mesmerized, I continued my campus sculpture walk. Twelve of Robert Wick's monumental pieces made up the exhibit at the University of Arizona. The figures expressed transcendent themes from variety of traditions: A many-armed Hindu god crouched with trees bursting from his chest, groin and head; two Buddha-like forms sat serenely, their mirror images balanced on their heads; a monk-like form strode into the morning sun with native plants anchored in its crevices. This was powerful stuff!

Sculptor Robert Wick says he sees his work as "the union of man and earth." He is fascinated with joining the textures of earth, the life and vitality of plants and the ideas of ultimate wisdom in his works. In choosing his inspirations, he opens himself to each of man's belief systems. They all serve to help people transcend their everyday lives.

He describes his work, Mexican Mask: "It was inspired by a thousand year old pre-Colombian work in which a grotesque head grew out of the lower jaw of a man. Although the original was a standing figure, I changed the figure into one with an Egyptian stride. I was so overwhelmed by the truth of the piece that I had to do a variation of my own response to that truth."

His inspiration has come from architecture and landscapes, both massive and eternal sources. He says he would have been an architect if he had followed early inclinations.

Because of his timeless themes, he works in bronze. It is a regal medium. It creates fluid organic forms and it lasts thousands of years, which is vital to him. As he has gained inspiration from ancient bronze craftsmen, so he hopes his work will give to others for generations to come. His influence here is Einstein who said that it is the purpose of all science and art to carry forth truth from one generation to those that follow.

"I was recently in Paris and was struck speechless by the Winged Victory. This piece is thousands of years old and still exists. It still stirs the same emotions today that it did when it was created."

The combination of plants and sculpture came several years ago. He was commissioned to do a portrait and while drawing the studies found himself including ivy through the center of the head. From then on, he incorporated plants in his work. They cross the boundary between his life and the inanimate sculpture he creates. As with landscape and architecture, they add a finishing dimension to his work.

"I hope that people who love land, landscape, the earth, and all life that abounds around them can feel the same as myself."

Wick, Robert
Bonze, 11'
Image adapted from the Robert Wick Gallery

Ms. Cassidy based this article on a documentary she made last year of sculptor Robert Wick.
Her insight is based on a sculpture walking tour she attended at the Universiy of Arizona, and an interview with the sculptor.
Mr. Wick narrated the documentary.

For more about the tour, please see The University of Arizona art site.
The Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory showcases one of the artists' outdoor pieces, located in Akron.

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