Down to Earth: Robert Rohm Sculpture, 1963-2013

Artwork by Robert Rohm
Down to Earth: Robert Rohm Sculpture, 1963-2013 will run March 24 – April 25, 2021.

WaterFire Providence presents Down to Earth: Robert Rohm Sculpture, 1963-2013 at the WaterFire Arts Center, an exhibition spanning fifty years of work by sculptor, Robert Rohm. This exhibition will run from Wednesday, March 24 – Sunday, April 25, 2021.

Robert Rohm is internationally recognized for his sculptures with exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; the Seattle Art Museum; and the Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland. Rohm was a dedicated sculptor for fifty years as well as a professor of art at the University of Rhode Island for over thirty years.

The exhibition is made possible by the support of Textron Charitable Trust, Cox Business, and Candy Adriance. 

“Untitled (Large Cascade)” 1996 Steel, mesh with encaustic
“Untitled (Large Cascade)” 1996 Steel, mesh with encaustic

“Throughout Rohm’s entire teaching career at URI, he worked on meticulous artworks in his South County studio that were exhibited internationally. This exhibit at the WaterFire Arts Center is a rare opportunity to observe the entire arc of this thoughtful artist’s work. Rohm created artworks in a wide range of styles, but through all his work, one can clearly discern a deliberate, focused and concise vision.” – Barnaby Evans, founder and executive artistic director of WaterFire Providence 

The exhibition chronicles Rohm’s aesthetic journey from his early abstract works in wood and his famous minimalist rope grids, through constructivist site works and performative theatrical sets, to spiritually-suffused work that re-materialized the human figure in a series of over-scale, calm, icon-like fragments, concluding with his final series of totemic columns. Rohm’s minimalist rope grids were featured in a series of ground-breaking exhibitions in the 1960s that established the “dematerialization of the art object” idea within conceptual art.

“Putting together this show of more than fifty years of Robert Rohm’s work has been a wonderfully complex and rewarding experience. I owe heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the many friends, family members and WaterFire staff members for making it possible.” says the artist’s wife Candy Adriance. “It’s taken years of pulling pieces out of storage, borrowing back others from collectors, restoring, researching, rebuilding, and collaborative thinking to get to this point, when all the work is ready to be seen and appreciated in one beautiful space. Now, as the show is about to open, I am most gratified to see and feel that each piece stands strongly on its own, very simply representing one man’s lifetime dedication to making art.” 

Down to Earth: Robert Rohm Sculpture, 1963-2013 will run March 24 – April 25, 2021. The exhibit is free for all, donations encouraged. The WaterFire Arts Center hours are: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m, Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. In following Rhode Island’s COVID-19 protocols, all visitors are required to self-screen before entering the WaterFire Arts Center and practice safety rules: keeping a 6’ distance from others and wear a mask at all times.

About the author

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Over the last 10+ years, alongside some incredible co-workers and volunteers, I've worked to build the organization that WaterFire Providence is today. As Director of Creative Services, my team and I work on visual communications, graphic design, the visitor experience, merchandising as well as project management for programming at the WaterFire Arts Center. Being a part of the 'Rhode Island' experience for tens of thousands of people is incredible and I have an intense pride in place for both Downtown Providence and the Valley neighborhood.

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I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.

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