Ro Robertson (they/them) (b. Sunderland 1984) is a contemporary artist based in West Cornwall. Robertson’s practice spans sculpture, drawing, painting and video, mediums through which they explore the boundaries of the human body and its environment.
Robertson works site specifically, often outdoors, with a multi-sensory focus on the body in the landscape. Unity between the material of the natural landscape and the body reclaims a space for LGBTQ+ identity against a history of being deemed ‘against nature’. Physical explorations of the natural landscape feed into ‘automatic’ abstract drawings and short mediative video works. Robertson’s large-scale sculptures embed the fluidity of this cyclical practice into rigid and industrial materials such as Corten steel and marine paint, materials that bridge their family heritage of ship building and their sculptural practice.
Robertson’s public sculpture Drench, inspired by the energy of the tidal zone, was exhibited in Regent’s Park, London as part of Frieze Sculpture 2022 curated by Clare Lilley. Robertson’s first public sculpture Stone (Butch) was installed at London’s iconic Gherkin skyscraper 2021-22, commissioned for the 10th edition of Sculpture in the City. Stone (Butch) is now installed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, where is it part of the permanentcollection. Past solo presentations include Torsos, Maximillian William, London and Subterrane, Maximillian William, London. Past group exhibitions include Behind abstract forms, Fragment, New York; On Queer Ground, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield; Seen, Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange; Into Abstraction, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield and Exploratory Drawings, Maximillian William, London. Works by Robertson are also held in the collection of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, The Hepworth Wakefield and Leeds Museums & Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery). Robertson’s work is currently on view in the group exhibition TRICKSTER FIGURES: sculpture and the body curated by Jes Fernie at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and We Are Floating In Space, Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange, Newlyn / Penzance. In September 2023, Robertson will be included in a group presentation at The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York curated by Gemma Rolls-Bentley. Ro Robertson will be creating a new installation at Tate St Ives in late 2023 as part of the Modern Conversations displays.
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