An exhibition on view now until October 22, 2011 at the SACI Gallery of Studio Art Centers International in Florence features sculpture and accessories by Robert Griffith. In collaboration with the Santa Croce Scuola del Cuoio, Griffith has a small edition of hand-formed, leather-covered hand bag “cases” and bracelets.
The article I wrote below was also printed in the exhibition catalog as well as in The Florentine:
The variety of works presented in PASSAGES exemplifies the creativity and skills of Robert Griffith, delicately blurring the lines between artist and designer, expressed without any means of struggle or sacrifice to either identity. PASSAGES might refer to the artist’s conceptual and technical developments as well as a physical pathway between time and place.
As a designer of objects where both form and function take the stage, whether being furnishings or accessories, Griffith demonstrates thoughtful and elegant solutions to functional design “problems,” or set of requirements it takes to produce an industrial object with a specific purpose. At the same time, aesthetic values are never compromised. Griffith’s attention to formal details where explorations of diverse materials, textures, and colors are combined together gives evidences to a great sensibility and intimacy with the design and construction of each object.
As a fine artist, Griffith pulls away from industrialization and focuses on the senses that mass production can sometimes hinder, seeking to re-contextualize his objects by considering their existence as sculptural curiosities rather than for strictly practical purposes. He never loses grip of his initial motivation of creating highly expressive works of precision crossed with subtle animations and wit, cleverly balanced with a controlled execution of detail and form.
Griffith’s recent passage to Italy has opened a new door where he has been able to contemplate the interactions between art history, historic artisanry and the constant importance of adapting traditions to contemporary lifestyles. This act of checks and balances parallels Griffith’s continuous push and pull as fine artist and designer, where one cannot sustain without the other.
The SACI Gallery is proud to have the opportunity to present Griffith’s work to an international audience, that of Studio Art Centers International, as well as the local Florentine community. It is only fitting to show Griffith’s work in a Renaissance context, from which many of Griffith’s recent works have been inspired.
SACI Gallery Coordinator
Palazzo dei Cartelloni
Via Sant’Antonino, 11