David Shrobe (‘14)
Russ Berrie Pavilion
1150 St. Nicholas Avenue (@168th Street)
March 6 - June 7 2015
Unfuhgetabol, 2014, cardboard, paper, birch bark, stickers and collage on paper
The Office of Community Outreach and Education is pleased to announce the next installment of the built environments exhibition series. Graphic Mythologies centers the work of multi-media artist, David Shrobe, whose interest in the relationship between popular culture, racial figuration, and the over-drawn, out-sized, and “racy” character of American cartoons, forms the focus of this exhibition. Tackling issues at once autobiographical and universal, Shrobe deploys a startlingly cohesive range of media and formal techniques (including drawing, painting, collage, as well as found and reclaimed objects and materials) to pursue this “campy” exploration of the consequences of prolonged exposure to mass media and technology on the already labored activity of human living.
Shrobe is interested in a multi-disciplinary exchange and refuses the parochial linearity of conventional ideas of temporality. For him, dislodging or collapsing the divisions between past, present, and future offers the possibility of re-framing, re-presenting, and, as he states, “disfigur[ing] popular cultural images, liberating them as they take on a renewed appearance, while redirecting and challenging previous representations in an effort to strip away their persuasive power.” Shrobe’s Graphic Mythologies is an incisive visual study on the meaningful impacts of animated play and leisure in helping to determine and maintain impoverished conceptualizations of human difference. It thus succeeds in upsetting received and constructed notions of American identity, all the while disclosing the myth undergirding the perceived neutrality of viewing and consumption.
David Shrobe was born, lives, and works in New York City. He received his BFA and MFA from Hunter College, The City University of New York, in 2009 and 2013, respectively. In partnership with the Laundromat Project, The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling has selected Shrobe as their inaugural artist-in-residence for 2015. Shrobe has been a recipient of the Kossak Travel Grant for painters (2013) and completed a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2014. Shrobe makes work that encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, assemblage, and transfer techniques.
This exhibition is part of the series built environments, a curatorial initiative conceived by Columbia University’s School of the Arts Office of Community Outreach and Education to engage contemporary issues in fine art concerning aesthetics, value, difference, and public space. As a term, built environments functions as a framing and rhetorical device to capture the ambition and goal of every artist. The term is also presented as a way to think about the sustainability of exhibition contexts that extend beyond the confines of the white cube gallery or museum space. And most directly related to the fields of architecture and urban planning within which the concept emerged, built environments marks the project’s location in Northern Manhattan and its exploration of alternative fine art exhibition north of 96th Street.