Phillip A. Robinson
I am interested in the way in which the world appropriates historical significance, mainly through avenues of culture not limited to music, fashion, language, wealth, and notions of celebrity.
As a child of the 80s, born to a Cherokee and African-American mother and a Trinidadian and German father, I am deeply influenced by the narrative of identity and that which makes the most impact on identity, specifically race/ethnicity, popular culture, and the universalities that bind us together. This on-going exploration of identity raises larger questions concerning historical discourse; specifically, who controls culture, what has importance in history, and what or perhaps who maintains historical significance as time moves forward. When discussing culture at large, it is the ideas, tastes, and desires of the majority that speak for us all. But what happens to those of us who exist in the margins, outside of the majority? Who defines our culture? What sustains it? Culture moves with Time. History is the study of Time. Each exists in symbiosis with the other, marking each other distinctly; influencing each other indefinitely. What survives the changes of time and what is remembered is the foundation of one’s identity narrative.
In my sculptures, I address notions of temporality by using wood that has been dated. Using dendrochronology, I ground my work within the ongoing timeline, while creating tangible objects through which one is able to contextualize and explore culture and human connectivity. I sculpt images of cultural significance. I sculpt images of importance. I have taken this work as my own, seeking to address the schism between the self and the world. I connect my marginalized culture to hegemonic culture and I define it, not only for myself, but for those who need a witness. My work celebrates the vital connection between lived experience and cultural and historic discourse.