REB ROBERTS - PORTRAITS
If there were a top ten list of recognizable artists in Grand Rapids, Reb Roberts would have to be on it. His work can be seen throughout the city and neighboring towns, from public street art to murals to gallery walls. His own gallery, Sanctuary Folk Art on Division St., stands alone in Grand Rapids in its focus on Outsider and contemporary Folk art.
Jean Dubuffet, a French artist from the early 20th Century coined the term "Art Brut" - which later turned into the term "Outsider Art" - to describe work that exists outside the art world, free from the constraints of art education and concepts of modern art-making; a direct way to express oneself. Reb Roberts continues this tradition into the 21st Century.
With this new show at the Fire Barn Gallery, curator and painter Chris Protas has challenged Roberts to create work using imagery other than the iconic imagery he is well known for. He has asked Roberts to do portraits of people that he knows. The "portraits" will be a combination of two panels, one a rendition of the person, the other a combination of images that the artist associates with the person.
The gallery itself will also be transformed. Roberts will create monumental paintings on the 3 large windows of the gallery over-looking the park. The results should be very exciting.