Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Altering Narratives: Momentum Tulsa Artist Elliott Robbins

Elliott Robbins, Muskogee

What is your concept and inspiration for this piece in Momentum?
The pieces that were accepted into Momentum center around the exploits of a character I created. This character in many respects is the antithesis of the average grand narrative protagonist, primarily because of his apparent blackness and Africanized features. For me, this series evolved out of a series of observations and research I had been doing into race in art history, particularly that of the American Southwest and early American Illustration. What seemed most apparent to me in doing this research was a vacancy or marginalization in regards to African Americans. I tend to look at this omission of blackness as an act of aggression more so than passive disregard. It is with this in mind that I attempt to challenge the traditional landscape of the grand narrative adventurer. I want the viewer to look at each image and see the familiar setting but also recognize that there is a broader subtext contained in each scene.

Elliott Robbins, A Storm on the Horizon, lithograph, watercolor, pastel, $450

Is this work part of a series?
Yes, both images are lithographs. I chose the medium because of its historical relationship to illustration in America. I feel that by producing work in this style and with this medium I can more effectively “enter” that narrative and defy its norms. I want it to be clear that the character is in conflict with the landscape, and all of the abstract notions associated with it. I think of each image in the series as both existing as a part of a personal narrative and being somewhat allegorical. 

I want the work in this series to address the fantasy of hyper masculinity commonly found in western art, the racial exclusivity, and the psycho-sexual overtones in this genre.

Of the images that I have attempted to produce in this series I feel that these two are the best examples of what I am trying to get at in the work, which is why they were the only two I submitted to Momentum Tulsa. I hope to continue this series until I have exhausted all possible options with this theme.
Elliott Robbins, Anxiety in a Foreign Land, lithograph, watercolor, pastel, $450

Where else can the audience see your work?
You can like my facebook page or follow me on tumblr.

Momentum Tulsa opens October 12 with live music, performance and visual art by 51 young Oklahomans. The exhibition remains on display until October 24 at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E Brady. Learn more or buy tickets at

No comments: