Robert Lobe

Environmental Impact Statement

a sculpture of a rock and tree against live trees and green grass

Environmental Impact Statement is one in a series of five large-scale sculptures that Lobe began in 1986. Made using his signature hammering process, the sculpted tree trunk and boulder are identical in form to their organic counterparts, but stripped of their natural color and texture. Instead, their surfaces are metallic grey and covered by the almost painterly marks left behind by Lobe’s hammer. Despite mimicking its surroundings, the aluminum sculpture feels out of place when juxtaposed with the deCordova’s thick, green foliage. The contrast between sculpture and site intensifies as viewers draw closer and see the casts’ bolts and seams, which Lobe intentionally left visible. What appeared solid from afar is revealed as a hollow shell. By adapting the organic tree trunk and boulder into industrial objects that are then placed back outdoors, Environmental Impact Statement visualizes how humans have taken control of and redefined the landscape. Furthermore, as its title suggests, the sculpture warns viewers to consider their impact on the environment. Like a death mask or effigy of the natural form, the sculpture foreshadows a bleak future.

About Robert Lobe

Lobe was born in Detroit, MI in 1945 and grew up in Cleveland, OH. He received his BA from Oberlin College, where he studied art from 1963 to 1967, before pursuing post-graduate work at Hunter College from 1967 to 1968. His work is included major collections across the country, including the San Francisco Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY: National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and Cleveland Museum of Art, OH. He has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and a Creative Artists Public Service Award.

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