Robert Overby

Works 1969-1987

31.01 — 27.04.14

OPENING: THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 2014, AT 6 P.M.

 

Bob behind Clear screen door (detail) 11 March 1971. Polyester resin. 195.58 x 102.87 x 6.35 cm.The Centre d’Art Contemporain in Genève presents Robert Overby – Works 1969-1987, the first institutional survey exhibition of the artist’s work in Europe. The exhibition – curated by Alessandro Rabottini – is organized together with the GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, Italy (where it will travel in May 2014), the Bergen Kunsthall in Norway (where it will be installed in September 2014) and with the Consortium (Dijon).

Despite his extremely prolific and diversified practice, Robert Overby remains one of the best-kept secrets of Post-War American Art, as he rarely exhibited in his lifetime. His multi-faceted artistic output – encompassing sculptures, installations, paintings, prints and collages – is a mysterious and inspiring exploration of representation, space and identity; an investigation of the human condition and its decay, beauty and absurdity.

Robert Overby (1935-1993) was born in Harvey, Illinois. For most of his life, he worked in Los Angeles as a graphic designer (remembered for the Toyota logotype still in use today) and subsequently as a practicing visual artist. Beginning in 1969, Overby developed an impressive body of work characterized by a restless experimentation with materials and processes. His most iconic early works take the form of architectural casts of doors, windows and facades made of rubber, latex and concrete; pieces that occupy a space in between sculpture, painting and installation, and that reveal a conceptual concern for a material understanding of the passage of time. The four years between 1969 and 1973 mark an incredibly productive period in which the artist created over three hundred works, which he documented in his “336 to 1. August 1973 – July 1969”, a self-published book with reversed chronology, which has been recently reprinted by JRP / Ringier.

The works produced during that seminal phase show the artist’s very personal meditation upon a number of recent and concurrent artistic practices, especially Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures and post-minimalistic investigation of perceptual surfaces. However, Overby’s work quickly diverged from those experiences and developed into a more psychological and narrative approach that saw the domestic space, and architecture, as metaphorical extensions of the bodily decay. This led the artist to refer to his practice as “Baroque Minimalism”.
It is perhaps his preoccupation with the physical nature of memory that makes his work so timely and relevant, if seen in retrospect together with the works of artists who emerged in the Nineties or later like Rachel Whiteread, Kai Althoff and Seth Price, to name a few.

Starting in 1973, painting became a central medium for Overby. His figurative works explore the representation of the human body as a site where identity is transformed, theatrically expressed, and concealed. Different in scale and style, his painterly production contemplates both intimate and delicate paintings where figuration fades into abstraction, as well as more exuberant and confrontational works that deploy references to pop culture, sexuality and consumerism.

SAVE THE DATES

Exhibition dates: 31.01 — 27.04.14

Opening: 30.01.14 at 6 p.m.

Exhibition curated by Alessandro Rabottini, Curator at Large of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive catalogue documenting more than 140 works and published by Mousse Publishing. The book will also include a complete chronology of the artist’s work and life.

Catalogue published with the support of:
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

 

Download the press release

Robert Overby, Works 1969 — 1987

 
Subventionné par la Ville de Genève

  • Bricks, large corner, 2 June 1971, Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Estate of Robert Overby; Chocolates, 1974-1977, Oil on canvas, Beth Rudin DeWoody; White Grid, 1977, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby
  • Bricks, large corner, 2 June 1971, Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Estate of Robert Overby; Chocolates, 1974-1977, Oil on canvas, Beth Rudin DeWoody; White Grid, 1977, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby
  • Bricks, large corner, 2 June 1971, Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Estate of Robert Overby; Chocolates, 1974-1977, Oil on canvas, Beth Rudin DeWoody; White Grid, 1977, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby
  • 4-Square Scrap, 28 December 1972, Canvas and Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Estate of Robert Overby; Door edge, 19 February 1971, Polyester resin and fibreglass, Collection of Gail and Tony Ganz, Los Angeles; Broken windo
  • 4-Square Scrap, 28 December 1972, Canvas and Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Estate of Robert Overby; Door edge, 19 February 1971, Polyester resin and fibreglass, Collection of Gail and Tony Ganz, Los Angeles; Broken windo
  • Broken window maps, 4 September 1972, Canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby; Black Hands, 1977, Oil on canvas, Collection of Bill Block, Los Angeles; Kitchen cabinets map, 30 August 1972, Canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby; Blue scre
  • Concrete screen door with hole, 20 February 1971, Concrete and steel, Private collection; Concrete screen door handle, 20 February 1971, Concrete and steel, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby
  • Computer Whiz, 1987, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York; Untitled #31, 5 October 1987, Untitled #39, 5 October 1987. Untitled #41, 5 October 1987, Untitled #42, 5 October 1987, Photomontages, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby;
  • Untitled, 1974, Offset lithographs, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby; Blue screen door, 11 March 1971, Polyester resin and fibreglass, Collection of Philip Aarons & Shelley Fox Aarons, New York; Sky Plane, 28 December 1972, Oil on canvas, Collection
  • Concrete screen door with hole, 20 February 1971, Concrete and steel, Private collection; Concrete screen door handle, 20 February 1971, Concrete and steel, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby; Clap, 1975, Oil on ACX plywood, Courtesy of the Estate of
  • White Grid, 1977, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby; Pink Head, 1974-1977, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby; Bricks, large corner, 2 June 1971, Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Est
  • What Else is Important, 1981, Oil on canvas, Collection of Geofrey and Laura Wyatt, Montecito; Thanks Leo Manso, 1987, Oil on canvas, Ringier Collection, Switzerland. Photo: Annik Wetter
  • Blue screen door, 11 March 1971, Polyester resin and fibreglass, Collection of Philip Aarons & Shelley Fox; Sky Plane, 28 December 1972, Oil on canvas, Collection of Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles; Concrete screen door with hole, 20 February 1971, Concr
  • Long wall, third floor, (from the Barclay House Series), 4 August 1971, Latex rubber, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Untitled (Monk Restoration), c. 1973, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby;
  • East room with 2 windows, third floor (from the Barclay House Series), 4 August 1971, Latex rubber. Hall Collection; Long wall, third floor, (from the Barclay House Series), 4 August 1971. Latex rubber, Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Overby and Andrew Kr
  • Magnetic Stretch, 5 July 1970, Polyvinyl chloride and resin, Hall Collection; 4-Square Scrap, 28 December 1972. Canvas and Latex rubber, Courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and the Estate of Robert Overby. Photo Annik Wetter.