Los Angeles

Robert Thomas

Esther Robles Gallery

In unique bronzes cast by him at the foundry of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Thomas continues a metamorphosis of structural forms and poetic allusion. Working directly with malleable wax, he combines multiple symbols: an upward flared thrust can become in turn a gesturing hand, a tattered and fluttering figure, or an open mouthed blossom. Rippling sheets take on the aspects of dented wings, sharp petals or thick draperies, and a severe vertical shaft may be read as a crucifix or a ceremonial staff, a totem or a flower stem. As well, there are the embalmed hollows of animal skulls or pods, and a series of small memorial plaques.

Dealing with such universal themes as death and its polarity of the persistence, renewal, and growth of life, his statement allows for a range from the humorous and illustrative anecdote to grave expressions of terror and the quiet celebration of fecundity. As a sculptor, Thomas approaches these on immediately tangible levels and modifies the concrete through the controlled accident and the manipulation of his forms. The treatment of the surface in working is a veritable textbook of variety and speaks well of his academic experience.

Fidel A. Danieli