Push and pull

SACI Gallery features Robert Griffith

Naomi Muirhead
September 29, 2011

Robert Griffith delicately blurs the lines between artist and designer. As a designer of objects such as furnishings and accessories in which both form and function take the stage, Griffith demonstrates thoughtful and elegant solutions to functional design ‘problems.' At the same time, aesthetic values are never compromised. Griffith's attention to formal details, where explorations of diverse materials, textures, and colors are combined, is evidence of the artist's great sensibility and intimacy with the design and construction of each object.


As a fine artist, Griffith focuses on the senses that mass production sometimes ignores, seeking to re-contextualize his objects by considering their existence as sculptural curiosities rather than their intended practical purposes. He maintains his initial motivation for creating highly expressive works of precision that are enriched by subtle animation and wit, each cleverly balanced with a controlled execution of detail and form.


From October 4 through 22, Florence's SACI Gallery of Studio Art Centers International will showcase Griffith's sculpture and design works. The variety of works presented in the exhibition, entitled Passages, exemplify Griffith's creativity and skill. 


Griffith, who is also a professor of Art at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, recently collaborated with Florence's Scuola del Cuoio in Santa Croce. This experience led to new works that are influenced by Italian history and culture as well as its modern-day icons of fashion and industrial design. The exhibited Case Forms and Bracelets, for example, are the result of his residency at the Scuola del Cuoio.  


SACI Gallery is located in the Palazzo dei Cartelloni, with its facade dediacted to Galileo. Indeed, it is fitting to show Griffith's work in the Renaissance context that inspired many of his recent works. Griffith's sojourn in Italy has inspired him to contemplate the interaction between art history, historic artisan work and the constant importance of adapting traditions to contemporary life. This check and balance parallels the continuous push and pull he experiences as fine artist and designer, where one sustains the other.



more articles