Swathrise, 48 x 36 inches, oil on canvas.
ROBERTS, Toll and Tustin were gifted the use of three former light-keepers’
residences on Bald Head Island. They secured funds based
on pre-selling paintings that would come from resident artists. The
artists only paid their airfare, with everything else provided.
Twelve international artists participated in the first No Boundaries
Art Colony, which is still in operation today (the 2020 edition was a virtual retrospec-tive
because of the pandemic).
Roberts is at his most creative when surrounded by like minds. From the 23 fully
occupied studio spaces at Acme to his second home in Sloestica, Macedonia, (which
also serves as a grouping of buildings for Andreevski’s Art Point-Gumno residency),
he stresses the importance of a collective.
The works that were featured in “Tributaries of Abstraction,” his recent exhibition
at Acme, elicit an all-consuming feeling of being pulled into the creative vehicle,
the element of both making and observing.
“August 28” is like a sunset screaming out. There are deep burgundy and black
tones contrasted by salmon pink and mustard yellows. A bellowing white seems to
reach up. It is abstraction with a center.
In “Greenpiece,” strong horizontal strokes in beige invoke a hollowed-out sky
while dark greens, blues and yellows establish a sense of recognition. Roberts’ favor-ite
hue, blue, is on full display in the aptly named, “The Blues” and “Blue July.”
It is easy to form connections in his work to the Osogovo Monastery. Encircled in
the towering greenery of the mountains, the monastery has had a profound effect
on both his art and intrapersonal relationships.
French painter Michel Raby, Roberts’ first roommate there (and a three-time
participant in the No Boundaries colony), died unexpectedly in 2004. An organiza-tion
of artists met in Macedonia following his death.
Dick Roberts’ favorite hue of blue is prevalent in works hanging at Acme Art Studios in January. At far left is Bluepiece, 53 x 40 inches, oil on canvas.
WBM february 2021