Mikel Robinson’s mixed media art is timeless, evocative of another era, Victorian perhaps, an age of industry when people made, built, objects with their hands. And this is the point of his work; to redefine, reconnect us, as human beings, with the physical world of objects as opposed to the digital world of ephemera, of noughts and ones, of the internet and our increasing dislocation from reality.
Robinson works with a wide range of materials – paint, gold-leaf, plaster, stains, wax, dirt and fabric – making lightboxes, jewellery, paintings, daguerreotype collages and found object sculptures in an attempt to release a voice that speaks to the beauty of the human experience. In short it is work that seeks to reclaim out identity, to make us realise that everything is connected. The universe is one. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
As a mixed-media artist; I work with anything I can- paint, collage, encaustic, gold-leaf, photography, gel transfer, plaster, stains, wax, dirt, fabric, found objects, and other various media. Another consistent element in my work is repetitive imagery; Ferris wheels, images from nature, lines, and other things both, at once, strange and familiar. Rather than find myself married to any particular element, I tend to work intuitively, allowing the creative process to control the direction a piece might take. When creating art, my creative process is much akin to layers of sediment building up upon a riverbed; layer after layer is added until a final piece is revealed.
I find comfort in beginning with something I know while travelling to someplace unknown.
Perhaps it’s because I know that Robinson is from North Carolina – and I have all these romantic visions of tobacco fields, roughly hewn craft furniture and the music of the Appalachian mountains – that I feel his work is about a history of place, of preserving what once was in the face of radical economic changes, is about looking back and not forgetting, is about building craft objects that encapsulate his own culture in a universal language. Then perhaps not.