"Nature vs. Nurture" ... the age old question. I suggest, for a moment, that we re-phrase that to read "Nature AS Nurture".
In this re-alignment, the phrase becomes the perfect descriptor for the work of Robert Tucker. In fact, it has been at the very core of his artistic output for the last three decades. Robert's intimate knowledge of plants and the gardens that he created as an outgrowth of that knowledge completely inform his more "abstract" work in collage, drawing, painting, and sculpture. At times, the nature in his work is deceivingly upfront and clear, almost "pretty". Always lurking below or behind, however, is something unidentifiable that puts one on edge. This is the edge that nature herself has. Behind all the breathtaking beauty that lies on the surface there is ultimately death and decay. It is this same organic process that imbues Robert's work, a process that he learned in the dirt at nature's feet.
William Wierzbowski, Assistant Keeper of American Collections,
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (2007)
Self Portrait 2008
As a child my curiosity and pleasure in nature originated in my grandmothers garden where I spent many hours amidst rows of gypsophilia, lily-of-the-valley, poppies, and iris. She had a wishing well, swings and a goldfish pond. What I refer to as the Mysteries presented themselves to me there. Nests, bugs, the seasonal changes, play and imagination confronted reality and the cruel bite of winter in this hallowed setting.
At home my mothers shelves were lined with ceramic supplies, clay, paint and brushes. Tables were littered with special dusts and tools directed towards the creation or metamorphosis of materials into precious matter. As the garden offered possibilities so did the materials found in the house.
My father was in the paper business and stacks and rolls of endless paper offered themselves up as more fuel for the imagination. Unfurling, spilling out, creasing, twisting and turning in space in limitless lengths became another territory with innate possiblities to explore.
All these sources created a web to center myself in. As a diligent spider I began my nest with threads that inspired me and spewed forth with collages and sculptures.
The effort to compose a short biography as I get older becomes difficult. I have spent much of my life interpreting mother nature and human nature. Balance, health, growth, fruition and decline, chaos, and loss are as true to my psychological and physical life as they are to my artistic self.
I have expressed myself best in my use of media in hand. I assemble, wrap, construct, paint, sculpt, as I see fit. I enjoy the freedom to work two and three dimensionally. I see nature, I feel nature, I interpret nature, and the best is that I too am part of it's seamlessness.
I have enjoyed the pleasure of exhibiting my work in galleries, public spaces, museums, papers, books and magazines.
New insights and awakenings keep me inspired.
Nature's Naughty Bits / Tray #3 2006 porcelain, wood, hair, steel, ink, oil 10"W x 13"L