Inspired of a serendipitous meeting between Robin Rice and Tucker Robbins on a rainy day in New York City, this latest collaboration welcomes an exciting new era at The Robin Rice Gallery. Breaking from the gallery’s traditional style of display, West’s photography will be creatively integrated with Robbins’ artisan furniture. Designed and built on the edge of the forest by indigenous people using centuries-old techniques, these products are born out of Tucker Robbins’ travels to remote locations. Whether woven textile, clay pottery or wood sculpture, these sustainably made products are materials that have been salvaged and refashioned into works of exquisite craftsmanship that are truly one of a kind.
Found objects are essential in the installation. Boosting from an impressive visual flow, the installation discovers intersections between the works that can be seen to echo throughout the space. As West’s “Passion Lies at the Edge of Uncertainty” presents an image composed of dark negative space leading down to a snake skin on the surface below, Robbins’ “Snaka Waka Table” is an Acadian side-table found nearby that was named by the Bamun carvers of Cameroon who likened its circular design to snake walking. Together, West and Robbins make for an installation that invites audiences to sit down and connect to the fine art objects in a manner different from what they are regularly accustomed to at the Robin Rice Gallery.
In speaking of her influences, West cites Josef Sudek as an early inspiration on her work for how he made evocative black and white photographs out of everyday happenings. Sudek himself once remarked, “I like to tell stories about the life of inanimate objects, to relate something mysterious.” This statement resonates well within West’s own work as she demonstrates a similar gift for finding the beauty in the banality of things overlooked. Her work also shares a kindred spirit with the eccentric assemblages of disparate images made by Joseph Cornell and the experimental platinum prints of Jan Groover.
For the past 35 years, Tucker Robbins has been bringing the spirit and craft from traditional artisans to contemporary life by creating sustainable furniture that is both modern and timeless. He has traveled around the world and created workshops in countries like Guatemala, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Cameroon. His latest project will focus on aiding communities in Puerto Rico by collaborating with Caribbean Exotic Hardwoods to help preserve fallen tropical woods and generate job creation to boost the local economy in regions most impacted by recent natural disasters.
Originally from Kansas City, Tina West discovered photography while studying sculpture and consequently developed decades of work benefiting from a significant conceptual depth that she explores in her imagery. Is That You That You See will be her final photo series shot on Fuji Instant Film using a large-format 4x5 camera.