University of Tennessee
Sculpture / Drawing
Professor Roberts retired from the Department of Art in 2007 after having been a member of the faculty since 1973. He taught in the areas of Sculpture, Three Dimensional Design and Drawing. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, he received his undergraduate degree in Art from Eastern Kentucky University in 1970 and his MFA in Sculpture from The University of Tennessee in 1972. During his thirty-four year tenure at Oklahoma State University he was a producing artist/teacher whose work was included in numerous competitive and invitational exhibitions on a regional and national level as well as producing a number of commissioned pieces.
Professor Roberts describes himself as an object maker, employing a variety of materials and methods in the development of his work. The primary material used in his work has been metal by way of fabrication and casting processes. His work evolved over the years from large, non-objective steel structures to more intimate metal and mixed media pieces referencing recognizable forms such as houses, boats and furniture. These pieces might be described as narrative in character using dark humor, social commentary and autobiographical allusions.
Prior to his retirement Professor Roberts began employing the computer as a tool for developing ideas using the three dimensional modeling program 3D Studio Max. He incorporated that “new tool” into the design process for sculpture as well as for creating computer-generated animations of virtual sculpture within virtual environments. Now, as then, he views the computer as simply another component in the creative process, from idea development to the realization of the final sculptural form. He continues to relish the very real and tangible experience of handling materials and confronting the physical labor of the accompanying processes inherent in the craft of object making.
Since retirement Professor Roberts has embarked on a long-term project of developing a sculpture park on his property. During the past four years this project has involved single-handedly clearing a few acres of “jungle,” along with acquiring sculpture. Professor Roberts describes this project as an invigorating process that enriches his life on a daily basis. Currently there are twenty-five pieces of sculpture on the property that include works by Professor Roberts and those of his former students. Additionally, he has continued to create sculpture, installing his latest fabricated steel pieces on the property. This ongoing project will certainly call for more “jungle” to be cleared and more sculpture to be acquired.