“With sculpture, you make a decision.” | Artist Charlie Roberts | Louisiana Channel

”With sculpture, you make a decision, and then you’re really drawing with the saw. It’s just pure pleasure.”

American artist Charlie Roberts taught himself to paint by copying old art historian masterpieces as miniatures. When this process became too tedious, he laid down the paintbrush and picked up the chainsaw.

Influenced by German painter and sculptor Georg Baselitz, Roberts makes sculptures roughly carved from chunks of wood that sit somewhere between tribal and popular art. Made with raw, physical, labor Roberts’ sculptures offer a counterpoint to his meticulously composed paintings:

“It’s a really satisfying physical thing, and I always feel good at the end of the day. To be able to include that in your art is, for me, a real luxury and pleasure.”

Despite their apparent differences, Robert’s painting displays a clear affinity with his sculptures: The crossing of limbs on his elongated figures and their sculptural shadows, are among elements that are clearly informed by the wood carvings. In this interview, Roberts explains this cross-pollination of his sculptural and painterly practice.

Charlie Roberts (b. 1983) is born and raised in Kansas, United States. He graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada in 2005. He is known for collecting and sampling elements from contemporary pop culture, hip-hop to art history in his praxis that spans wood carving, ceramics, painting on canvas and watercolour on paper. Roberts currently lives and works in Oslo, Norway.

Christian Lund interviewed Charlie Roberts in Roberts’ studio in Olso, Norway, in 2022.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Nanna Rebekka
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2023

Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.

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