by Robert Porter
Center for Faith and Life
February 1 - March 18, 2010
This exhibit is presented in conjunction with the 7th Annual Midwest Black History Conference at Luther College.
(December 10, 1948 – February 4, 2005)
"For more than 30 years Robert traveled, painted, played music, photographed life and looked to the skies for a divine answer to his purpose in life. As a child growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Robert experienced temporary blindness, which served as a catalyst for his appreciation for the world of art. Because of this experience, Robert felt compelled to go outside of his own boundaries and limitations of darkness to explore the illusions of face. This would shape and carve Robert into a passionate and prevailing artist—with an exceptional body of work. Robert wanted to see everything, inside out, upside down and be able to expose the unexpected: the why? the what?—looking for an answer to the divine question of existence. In his works he placed some of life's improvisations, searching for the perfect solo, a dance with subjects and self. He wanted to instill a meaningful soul into his works in order to share moments of time, space and mood. He attempted to create works that reenact a familiarity; a feeling of knowing that everything is going to be all right. His works express the feeling that the blues are just a moment in time, followed by exceeding joy. Robert wanted his works to evoke moments in time and space that recall moods known only to the viewer like instances that turn one’s head at an angle to hear and understand the next anticipated line in a John Coltrane solo.
He worked in mixed media, making use of textured acrylics, oils, sand, glass, wood pulp, photographs, and found objects. His subjects were an examination of parts, a look at the whole vibration of the “Thing” that makes it work. They reflect some of his own experiences as a jazz musician playing with Miles Davis, the Joffrey Ballet orchestra, Nell Carter and Art Blakey, just to name a few.
Robert came to understand his purpose in life as he realized God created him as a truly creative and powerfully artistic spirit who would touch the lives of everyone he encountered with hope. Because of Robert’s innovative spirit, his memory will continue through his impassioned artwork. Robert often viewed his art as colorful movements—captured through lines, space, shape, and dimension. His goal was to place a sense of spirituality into a work of art, in order to share captured moments. It seems appropriate that his last show opened on Friday, February 4, 2005, the day he transitioned to his heavenly home, with four of his ten paintings exhibited selling during the opening reception. His legacy is one of beauty and love for all of us who were fortunate enough to meet him on his journey through life. I hope those who will only meet him through his art will get a glimpse of the depth and breadth of his talent.
Mrs. Emma Graeber Porter, his wife and administrator of his collection"