Sometimes Jeff Robinson doesn’t get to see his sculptures completely finished until installation.
The potter turned woodworker creates intricate, large-scale sculptures that range between about 5-feet to 9-feet tall.
Each piece appears to defy gravity, balancing on a smaller pyramidal base. The scale of the artist’s work is even more impressive considering the close quarters of his studio, which is one stall in his three-car garage.
A dozen of Robinson’s large-scale sculptures are on view at the BNSF Railway Gallery inside the Fort Worth Community Arts Center through Nov. 18.
“The big ones I never really saw set up until I was done and had them somewhere. I build them on their side. … This is only the second time I’ve ever had them in one place,” he said.
If you go
What: “Jeff Robinson: Wood Sculptures” exhibition at Arts Fort Worth
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 18
Where: Fort Worth Community Arts Center
1300 Gendy St.
Robinson got into woodworking about 1990 and started building furniture for his home and for family members. Around 2005 or 2006, he got an idea for the piece that is now titled “Sculpture I.”
He can’t recall what inspired the idea, but he does remember sitting in the living room with his wife, absentmindedly watching TV. She asked what he was doing when she noticed him gesturing his hands in the air as he puzzled out how to make his idea a reality.
The finished sculpture looks as though it required a lot of preplanning or engineering, but Robinson said that his process is fluid.
“I don’t do any drawings or anything like that,” he said. “I just let it grow as I’m working on it.”
He takes a piece of wood and cuts a shape, and then takes a different type of wood and cuts another shape. He fits and glues the pieces together as he goes until he is satisfied with one face of the sculpture, then repeats the process.
The effect is a unique geometric, almost mosaic-like pattern on each side of the structure.
Robinson estimates that, depending on the sculpture, there might be hundreds to thousands of smaller pieces within each completed structure.
The pyramidal bases are a dense oak and are typically solid for the first 18 inches, but the rest of the sculpture is hollow inside. A steel rod attaches the larger geometric shapes to the pyramid’s point and helps stabilize the artwork.
Keeping most of the weight concentrated toward the center of the sculpture creates the counter balance needed to cantilever the top pieces over the base without toppling over.
Each artwork can take anywhere between 300-500 hours to complete.
Robinson wants to continue to scale up his work. He has his sights on even larger projects and aims to complete a public art installation in the near future.
“I enjoy showing my work because I think this is something that’s unique, that’s different,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything similar … before. I’d like people to enjoy it, to see it, so it’s exciting when I am able to do that.”
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.