a colony of creation
Wilmington artist Dick Roberts’ abstract expressionism brings daydream landscapes
through layered brushstrokes
By Emory Rakestraw
IMAGINE standing on a hill, looking at the shades of blue in the sky and listening to the wind
rustling about a golden landscape. Or being at a monastery on Osogovo Mountain in Macedonia,
where you are spreading your friend’s ashes across the meadow you once hiked together.
A viewer can look at a Dick Roberts’ painting from a variety of perspectives; that’s the
beauty of abstraction. Yet when you hear his stories or envision a sheetrock scraper (his favor-ite
“brush”) thick with oil paint against canvas, they seem to form their own narrative of an
artist far into his career and accomplishments, yet still creating.
“I’ll make an odd amount of marks on the canvas, maybe three or five, then the next step
is I respond to those. At this point, there’s no concept or plan to what the painting is going to
be,” Roberts says while sitting in his workspace at Acme Art Studios in Wilmington. “I think the
natural world, the motion of the natural world, the way water moves or the sun sets, those are
Roberts, the co-founder of Acme, seems to find his way making art among other artists
including, memorably, Macedonian painter Sergej Andreevski.
They met during Roberts’ first residency at the international art colony held at the Saint
Joachim of Osogovo Monastery in Kriva Palanka, Macedonia, in 1987. Andreevski, described as
a class clown type, burst into Roberts’ studio one night declaring they would paint a picture
Left: Dick Roberts made long-standing friendships during his residencies at the international
art colony held at the Saint Joachim of Osogovo Monastery in Macedonia.
Above: Dick Roberts (far left) co-founded the No Boundaries international art colony on Bald Head Island with Pam Toll (letter U) and Gayle Tustin
(letter D). Fellow artist and friend Sergej Andreevski (N in Boundaries) traveled from Macedonia to participate. Opposite: Dick Roberts co-founded
Acme Art Studios in downtown Wilmington with six other artists in 1991. The large easel in his space there supports Helios, a 47 x 47 inches oil and
mixed media piece.
COURTESY DICK ROBERTS V.V. BRANKA
WBM february 2021