Bio/Statement

About the Artist

Robin Mandel works in sculpture, installation, photography, and video. Across these media, his work is an investigation into time, light, and motion. His recent exhibition venues include the List Gallery at Swarthmore College, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Currents New Media 2016 in Santa Fe NM, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids MI, and the Wassaic Project in Wassaic NY. He has also exhibited in Portland (Maine), Boston, Montreal, Venice, Barcelona, and Jerusalem. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and has been awarded grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston. His teaching credits include the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Maine College of Art, and Colby College. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives in western Massachusetts.


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artist’s statement

A famous scientist once said: "all motion is relative." Put another way, motion is relation. Motion creates a relationship between two or more entities, and thereby a story. In my sculpture, videos, and installations, motion (or implied motion) is the catalyst for narrative.

The objects and gestures that appear in my work – teacups, firewood, pouring a glass of water, holding one's breath – are familiar, near at hand. I use what you know to tell a story you don't.

I am interested in forces arrayed in balance or opposition, and in the metaphorical potential of those arrangements: unity and harmony, but also deadlock and stasis.

Through these oppositions I explore visual manifestations of paradox: light and darkness, motion and stillness, materiality and immateriality coexisting within the same object or image. I create situations where seeing and knowing come together at a sharp edge; the experience of the work balances on that edge.

To hold two opposing ideas in mind at once is a valuable and powerful act. It enables empathy; it is an antidote to extremism. It validates doubt as a productive intellectual tool. To see one thing and know another – to grapple with paradox – the mind must find a way to allow for the impossible.