Painting & Sculpture
Tony Robbin has worked in painting, sculpture, light, architecture, and computer art.
His first exhibition in New York was at the Whitney Museum, a first floor solo exhibit in 1974: these paintings combined an optical mix of color, through the use of a modified spray gun, with a complexity of multiple, superimposed spaces, created by spraying through patterned stencils.
He was a founder of Pattern Painting, showing widely in the United States
and Europe with this school, and committed, as were his colleagues, to
the lyric fusion of color and the intellectual understanding of the symmetries
of pattern, as in the vast tradition of Asian arts.
1979-8, 70" x 120", Coll: the artist
It was at this time that Robbin discovered the possibility of seeing four dimensional geometry on computers - really seeing it, using four dimensional geometry as the organizing principle of spatial complexity in art, and as a result discovering several formal innovations that took his work through the 1980's. He became a programer (the only way to get such a capability at the time), making some of the most sophisticated programs for visualizing 4d, and became known in both the mathematics and computer art communities.
1980-2 56" x 70", private collection
At the same time, he discovered that by using two dimensional elements, painted lines, and three dimensional elements, welded steel rods, the visual information of the fourth dimension could be presented to the viewer in an artwork.
Fourfield, 1980-81, 8.5' x 27' x 15", detail,
collection the artist
Lobofour, 1982 8' x 12' x 15", collection the artist
Later in his light pieces, the two dimensional elements became the colored cast shadows of the three dimensional elements: where blue and red light shines together there is white, but in the shadow of the red light, only strong blue light is seen (two thirds of what is on the wall is only light.) This work was shown in New York mainly at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery.
1987-3, 70" x 70" 15",
collection the artist
Robbin's closeness to the mathematics community led him to Quasicrystal geometry, a derivative of four dimensional geometry with truly remarkable visual properties. He decided that architecture was the preferred art form for this new idea. He holds the patent on the application of Quasicrystal geometry to architecture, and has lectured and written so widely on the idea that it is now studied in architecture schools, primarily in Europe. To date, Robbin has made two large structures, a very large architectural sculpture in Denmark, completed in 1994, and destroyed in 2003, and a mural relief for the city of Jacksonville, Florida.
COAST, 1994, 17 meters in length,
Coll: Danish Technical University,
with Erik Reitzel as engineer,
RCM Precision as fabricator of components,
Poul Ib Hendriksen as photographer
Since the Denmark project, he has worked primarily on painting - paint on canvas. Even after all the formal adventures he has been through, Robbin is convinced that this is the most powerful of media, and now has a body of these new paintings
1996-8, 56" x 70", private collection
After a visit to Scott Carter at the Mathematics Department of The University of Southern Alabama in Mobile in 2000, Robbin began to think more about his paintings as four dimensional knot diagrams:the flowing sheets are really hyperplanes that have not only thickness but an internal structure as well. The hyperplanes braid in ways that are impossible in three dimensions but are the natural consequences of projecting higher-dimensional structures into lower dimensional spaces.
2005-3, 56" x 70", The Harn Museum of Art
2000-6, 56" x 70", private collection, Lake Wales, Fl
2015-0-7, 56" x 70", Collection the Artist
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