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New Kingdom Robert Ortbal the beginning and the end 2004, foam, wire and paint, 1.5 x 5.75 x 3.75


Robert Ortbal

New Kingdom

Gallery 555 The Oakland Museum of California at City Center


New Kingdom Robert Ortbal’s work is not easily defined as his creative process regenerates itself within each different environment in which he displays artworks. As such, the work transforms the exhibition space from something expected into something unexpected. Ortbal states, “I search for the hidden growth within real and imagined spaces to articulate psychological states of being.” His materials range from the ephemeral, such as onions, grapes and eggshells, to common everyday materials like cardboard, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, tin cans and tea bags. Ortbal also uses found objects, including birdcages, clock mechanisms and satellite dishes, transforming their existing appearance into something new and ethereal. His work combines aspects from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms to form what Ortbal calls “hybrids” of natural phenomena and human nature. He says of New Kingdom that these “hybrids” are influenced by the decorative and applied arts of the Rococo (1700-1760) and Art Nouveau (1890-1914) time periods. He uses “the essential qualities of ornament to change one type of matter, style or being into another by transforming surfaces, shapes and form”. His materials serve as spores, which he can replicate and mutate into objects, inviting the audience to use their imagination: to see the Rococo as modern; packing foam as a petri-dish; rubber balls, wire and styrofoam cones as a nervous system. His new work echo’s the intricacy and delicacy of the natural world by organizing, juxtaposing and distorting a new treasury of motifs he has collected. The resulting works are familiar yet revisited and altered in new ways giving rise to questions about their function, usage and metaphor. Cherie Newell


The Architecture of a Scent, 2004 wire, foam and urethane, 32 x 32 x 14


above - Lotus, 2004, foil, hot glue and paint, 5.5 x 5 x 2,5 left - The Architecture of a Scent, 2004, wire, foam and urethane, 32 x 32 x 14


She had yellow hair, 2004 foam and paint, 44 x 44 x 2


Alloy, 2003 wax, tool dip and paint, 11 x 19 x 19


The Blueprints of Pollen, 2004 wax, urethane, foam and paint, 28 x 26 x 7


above - frozen intricacies I, 2004, wax, foam and paint, 24 x 19 x 3.5 right - Parallel Questions: boy-girl, 2004, wire, urethane and wax, 46 x 42 x 23


above - Parallel Questions: green and yellow, 2003, wire, wax and tool dip, 45 x 26 x 13


above - frozen intricacies, 2003, wax, foam and paint, 22 x 21 x 3


equilibrium, 2003 wax and paint, 11 x 12 x 22


Allegory of Deception and Ecstasy, 2004 wax, foam, wood, wire and paint, 17 x 19 x 35


above - Helix, 2003, wax and wire, 20 x 9 x 6 right - Parallel Questions: balls and cones, 2003, wire, wax, foam, urethane, 50 x 19 x 16


above - synthetic mime, 2003, wax, foam and paint, 23 x 21 x 2.5 left - Benign, 2004, wire, urethane, foam and paint


above - Maroon, 2004, wax, foam, wire and paint, 12 x 32 x 21 left - The Inflorescence of Poison, 2004, foam, steel and tool dip, 46 x 16 x 10


Selected Solo Exhibitions: 2003 2001 1998 1996 1996 1995

New Work, Marjorie Wood Gallery, San Francisco, CA seeing is believing, Pond, San Francisco, CA Behind One's Eyes, 1078 Gallery, Chico, CA, Lu"aby, Four Walls, San Francisco, CA Between Red and Green, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA as above, so below, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA,

Installations and Site Specific Works: 2004 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1994 1992

above and beneath, Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA February’s Song, Sculpture Space, Utica, NY Openings, 9-1-1 Media Arts Center, Seattle, WA What is Art for?, The Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA Fertile Waste, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO Openings, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA Host, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery, San Francisco Stones: The weight of ripening., Contract Design Center, San Francisco, CA at the end of desire, Seeing Time Series, Kala Institute, Berkeley, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions: 2002 2000 1998 1997 1996 1994 1992 1991 1990

Being There: 45 Oakland Artists, The Oakland Museum of California, CA Knowing you, Knowing Me, The Lab, San Francisco, CA, 20th Anniversary Exhibition, S.F.M.O.M.A. Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA Stirred Not Shaken, Refusalon, San Francisco, CA, Natural Phenomena, Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, Bedford Gallery, CA Cross Currents, Holy Names College, Oakland, CA The Object is Bound, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA North by Northeast, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA Introductions, Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, CA


Robert Ortbal

New Kingdom July 15 - October 1, 2004

Gallery 555 The Oakland Museum of California at City Center 555 12th Street Oakland, CA Hours: 7am - 6pm Phone: 510-238-2200 http://museumca.org/satelite/ortbal.html Catalog: Copyright 2004 Oakland Museum and Cheri Newell Art: Copyright 2004 Robert Ortbal All rights reserved. No part of this catalog may be reproduced without written permission from the gallery and the artist.


New Kingdom