Retta Robbins

Bio and Artist Statement

Robbins has studied at the Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU), Johns Hopkins, and NYU and
in Firenze, Paris and Kyoto, and has in turn taught art for many years. Her studio can be found at Libertytown Arts Workshop in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Robbins on her outlook and the work it informs:

“My exhibit – Politics · Conflicts · and Social Injustice – has grown out of personal, visual comments about the world around me. The artist has long been the lens that focuses on injustice throughout the ages.  It is that empathy which brings to light misdeeds in every period of history. An image is seared onto our national memory, whether it be Goya’s ‘Execution of the Rebels of May 3rd’ or the photographed execution of a citizen in the streets of Vietnam, or the hooded, wired prisoner at Abu Grahib.  The artist leads us to what we know. ‘Guernica’ forever cemented the horror of modern warfare in the minds of its viewers.  Picasso’s iconic depiction of a bombed Spanish town in 1939 captures the terror inflicted on a people by an unseen enemy. It has been my intent to record/react to events around me, pose visual questions, look at the madness in the world, and step back and sigh.  I feel as if I am in Goya’s Black Paintings from Quinta del sordo, looking for a way out and wondering if we will ever learn.”

With regard to the Ledger Line’s interest in crossing genre lines, Robbins writes:

“I think that the Rumsfeld.non-speak piece is more about making connections—hearing Secretary Rumsfeld’s curiously existential Pentagon briefings made me think of a radio that I had in the ’70’s.  It was a white cube, and when it was turned on lips began to move…no matter what the content of the present program… the lips just moved…like the vases being carried out of the museum in Iraq over and over.  Content and message somehow were not connected. Then I came across a piece in The New Yorker about a group that had set some of Secretary Rumsfeld’s briefings to music… I tracked down the recording and put them all together.  Made 20casts of the mouth and let them speak for themselves.”

Artist’s Work

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