bio / statement / résumé
Who is Robert Terrell the artist? I have been drawing, painting and building with wood all my life. I have a broad base of artistic and practical experience in the art world, including selling art in galleries, directly to the public, and over the internet.
As a working artist I have had solo and group art shows. As an artist working, I've had various art related "day jobs." Currently I work full time at Texas Tech University as the safety coordinator, gallery lighting tech, and woodshop tech.
I lived in Houston in the early 1980's, and in 1985 I was accepted into my first real art gallery - Kauffman. I learned very much about what the art "business" is really about, above and beyond what I was taught in art school. It was a dream come true to have solo and group art openings and to see my art hanging in great locations and sold to people who really appreciated what I was creating. Kauffman's was not my first art gallery (and there will be more in the future) but it was my real initiation into the art gallery world.
My artwork hanging expertise has been tested. I was in a rather large California earthquake (Northridge) in 1994. I had several wall sculptures hanging on my wall, and none fell off. This was good news. I can safely and securely hang artwork up to 8 or more feet in length!
My work as a lighting tech at Landmark art gallery for the last eight years has taught me how to light art quickly and to best effect! I will be passing various tips along with the artworks you buy at Robertterrell.com. Lighting improvements do not have be expensive to make a difference.
I have a college degree in art and a "college degree" in the school of art knocks. Many of the techniques I use for my wall sculptures and bas-relief paintings I developed on my own in the "worldly" school.
I attended Texas Tech University School of Art, and Cal State University Los Angeles - my "academy" training. My BFA degree is firmly grounded in drawing, design, art history ... an important foundation for an artist receiving a BFA in studio art, in my opinion. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I am very satisfied with my formal education.
I was born with the artist's deep determination and intention to make art on a level that transcends the superficial. My art development and understanding of how to accomplish this creative intention has continued to this day and will continue!
I'm an artist! I carry a brush!
My main artistic goal is to create art that gives the viewer that exciting feeling of
"new discoveries" even years later. This may appear to be a somewhat simplistic art philosophy but
I have found it to be quite challenging throughout my art career.
I didn't consciously set out to make this my goal at first. In the early years I simply wanted to
create art that moved me as intensely as did the art of Willem de Kooning, Picasso, Braque,
Stuart Davis, Kandinsky, Matisse, etc. This artistic goal has revealed itself as I have worked as an
artist, lived with the art, and continued to enjoy the art of others.
I strive to create art that is rich on many levels. By that I mean various kinds of richness.
My art is rich in associations (you can see the movement of musical forms, the flight of birds,
the heads of animals, etc.) On a more formal level it is rich in abstract design qualities,
such as subtle color shifts, rhythmic textures, and painterly qualities, and rich with a synergy
arising from the interplay of the 2 and 3-D elements.
This 2D and 3D dynamic interplay has been an unexpected and wonderful surprise arising out of my
creative process through the years. All the levels of my work, taken together, lend a layered
richness and "evolving" interest that I find very compelling.
This keeps me coming back to the creative moment again and again, where I am always being surprised
at the discoveries to be made. I always learn from my artmaking that my creative process is larger
and more inclusive than my brain and ideas. When creativity happens, it always shows its mysterious
and astonishing side, to which many, if not most, artists will attest. Unexpected creative "events"
are the glue that hold each artwork together, and make all the layers integrate into a creative,
About My Abstract Art
I use a lot of bold lines and minimally modulated colors in many of my artworks. A superficial reading of my art could therefore lead one to assume I am simply "cartooning." I have sometimes heard this. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my youth, (even when I was quite young) I found cartoons, comic strips and comic books interesting, but in an "incomplete" way. Certainly I was influenced (and still am) by all three. My main interest in cartoons is artistic - how they are drawn and painted, and the way action is implied (the "action lines" of comic strips).
Through the years, I have understood more and more clearly why I use the lines and flat color shapes.
The main reason is that I am strongly moved emotionally by lines, shapes and color. But deeper reasons exist as well. I create visual structures with lines, which also serve as textures. Initially these line structure - textures may seem casual, but they are always the result of much thought and usually much planning and reorganization, as the painting develops.
The final effect in each painting, if it is really successful, is a very intricate, visually exciting, intellectually stimulating, structural and textural web that dynamically holds the painting together like the metal framework of a skyscraper. This is part of the reason I usually add the outer "framework" of the line structure around the edge of the painting as well. This is quite easily seen in the rectangular paintings. They have a sort of metaphorical life as little painted glass curtain skyscraper paintings.
Perhaps! But of course my artwork has many more levels than this. I have also been highly influenced by geometry, astronomy, meterology (swirling and twirling tornadoes from my upbringing on the Texas panhandle) geology, the New Mexico and California landscapes, sub-atomic physics, African nature shows, all sorts of music ~ pop culture, and all the influences gathered by my 57 years of living ~ PLUS...art school and the numerous artistic influences since then...
A lot of diverse influences come into play in my creative process. I do not discount the influence of cartoons, comic books, and comic strips. They are great. What I sometimes assume is the issue with my art is whether its apparent theme is merely "whimsical" art made for Saturday morning kids entertainment.
The reality is, my art potentially, and I can certainly see in my art symbol-language does reflect much of what I have experienced, what has, and is occurring in the world, future possibilites for the world, and ...
The process of multilayering of elements and meanings I have been working on for my entire artistic career has been an attempt to create the "movements" in the mind and emotions that art can and does produce, that art not explainable, but are definitely felt by anyone who has a real interest in art.
See Futurism and Vorticism for more on how artists have used lines to depict action and movement.
See cubism for more on the art movement that probably influenced me the most.
Artists that influenced me tremendously are: Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Vassily Kandinsky, André Derain, Willem De Kooning, Hundertwasser, Paul Klee, Stuart Davis, Charles Burchfield, (I love his animistic landscapes!), Jean Dubuffet and many others.
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Studies in Sculpture and Design, California State University, Los Angeles. 1975
BFA in Painting and Drawing, Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock,Texas. 1977
"40th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition," Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas. June, 2008.
"Progression and Evolution: The aesthetic mind-field of Robert Terrell,
site-specific project located at the Underwood Center for the Arts, Lubbock, Texas.
August - October, 2006.
"4th Annual Artists in Action Charity Event,"
The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts,
Lubbock, Texas. 2004
"7 Trains of Thought," The Center for Contemporary Arts, Abilene, Texas;
West Texas College Department of Art, Snyder, Texas. 2004
"Solo Exhibition," Carol Nebb Gallery, Lubbock, Texas. 2004
"Solo Exhibition," Carol Nebb Gallery, Lubbock, Texas. 2003
"Studio Tour 2002," Artary Gallery, Lubbock, Texas. 2002
"Edges, Boundaries and Limits," Solo Exhibition, Art Depot Gallery, Lubbock, Texas.
"Solo Exhibition," Carol Nebb Gallery, Lubbock, Texas. 2003
"Star, Cross, Angel Show," Lubbock Arts Alliance, Lubbock, Texas. 2001
"ArtHouston 2000," Goldesberry Gallery, Houston, Texas. 2000
"The Shape in Focus," Agora Gallery, New York, New York. 2000
"Reconnecting," Solo Exhibition, Goldesberry Gallery, Houston, Texas. 1998
"Homecoming," Alumni Show, Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas. 1997
"Teeth and Consequences," Solo Exhibition, Artary Gallery, Lubbock, Texas. 1997
"Levels of Vision," Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas. 1996
"Hired Help Show," Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas. 1995
"Artwalk '94," Juried Art Exhibition, Thousand Oaks, California. 1994
"Invitational Art Exhibition," Lubbock Arts Festival, Lubbock, Texas. 1991
"Solo Exhibition," Gallery 1114, Midland, Texas. 1989
"Solo Exhibition," Andrews, Nelson, Whitehead Architectural Firm, Houston, Texas. 1985
"Two-Person Exhibition," Western Bank, Houston, Texas. 1985
"Invitational Art Exhibition." Square One Gallery, Houston, Texas. 1985
"On-Air Exhibition," Channel 34, Houston, Texas. 1985
"Introductions '85," Kauffman Gallery, Houston, Texas. 1985
"Invitational Art Exhibition," Goethe Institute, Houston, Texas. 1984
"In-House Artist's Exhibition," Texas Art Supply, Houston, Texas. 1983
"Solo Exhibition," Applegate's Landing, Lubbock, Texas. 1979
"Graduate Invitational Exhibition," Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas.
"Senior Thesis Show," Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, Texas. 1977
Andrews & Kurth Law Firm. Houston, Texas.
Margit Pat Brown. Lubbock, Texas.
Coastal Banc Savings. Houston, Texas.
Compaq Computers. Houston, Texas.
Linda Filippone. Lubbock, Texas.
First City National Bank. Houston, Texas.
Mary Meyer Guzman. Corpus Christi, Texas.
Dr. and Mrs. David Lamp. Lubbock, Texas.
Charles and Janalou Longfellow. Hutto, Texas.
Chris Taylor and Dawn Wolf-Taylor. Lubbock, Texas.
Thompson and McKnight Law Firm. Dallas, Texas.
Watkins, Carter, Hamilton Architects. Houston, Texas.
LaJeune Wint. Lubbock, Texas.