Robbie Barber is an award-winning artist. His sculptures, inspired by his travels in rural America, showcase the unique buildings of agricultural communities and share the stories of the people who lived and built them.
“My architecture-related sculptures are influenced by my travels throughout rural America. I am attracted to the strong visual character of this country’s vernacular architecture. Vintage lap-board houses, mobile homes and agriculture-related structures have become regional icons that ultimately tell the stories of their inhabitants and builders. This implied history interests me deeply. Typically considered eyesores, these structures are glaring reminders of the social and economic plight of much of our society. Yet on a formal level, they have a hidden beauty, complex in color, texture and shape.”
“A feeling of sadness is often prevalent in these works, reminding me of the stories my mother and my aunt Mildred have told me of their early life in rural North Carolina and of the ones they will not tell, no matter how much I prod. ‘Better Days’ is an example of this, featuring a fascinating, complex use of color and texture that is juxtaposed to the tragedy of the subject matter. Vestiges means ‘a trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists,’ which seems to fit this piece well.”
Robbie Barber is currently a professor of art at Baylor University in Waco and has taught sculpture there since 2000. Born in Williamston, North Carolina, in 1964, he was raised on a farm near the Roanoke River in Martin County. He received his B.F.A. degree from East Carolina University in 1987 and his M.F.A. degree from the University of Arizona in 1991.
He has gained notoriety as a sculptor working in a variety of media and is the recipient of numerous awards. These include a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship and a Southern Arts Federation/NEA Fellowship in Sculpture. He has exhibited at:
- Redbud Gallery in Houston
- Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, New York
- Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art in Auburn, Alabama
- Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey
- Tokyo Metropolitan Museum in Tokyo, Japan
Most recently, he completed the commissioned permanent outdoor sculpture “Geri” for the Sculpture Zoo Project in Waco.