Rob Neilson, Katrina, MDF, wood, milk paint, 16 x 16.5 x 2.5 inches, 2017

Rob Neilson, Katrina, MDF, wood, milk paint, 16 x 16.5 x 2.5 inches, 2017

In this new body of sculptural works, Rob Neilson concentrates on the exchange between the idiosyncratic and collective connotations borrowed from the individuals depicted. Exploiting the traditional genre of the portraiture bust in a way which combines iconography and incongruity, Neilson creates art constructed from layered MDF (medium density fiberboard) and finished with handmade milk paint to consider the space where the iconic encounters the absurd.

Rob Neilson is the Frederick R. Layton Distinguished Professor of Art and Associate Professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Born and raised in Detroit, he received a BFA in Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies. A professional artist since earning his MFA in sculpture from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rob has exhibited his sculpture, installations, and drawings at galleries, museums, and alternative spaces nationally and internationally.

Neilson has created public art commissions throughout the United States, including projects in California, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina. In 2006 Rob completed a 6-month residency at the Kohler Arts/Industry program where he fabricated 54 iron castings for a public art project commissioned by the Los Angeles Metro Transit Authority.

Equal parts artist and educator, Rob has been a visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Virginia Tech University and Longwood University (Virginia), Dickinson College (Pennsylvania), Millikin University (Illinois) and California State University.