Bob Dilworth – Artist, Educator
The physical process of painting and its vitality is integral to my work.
My work has transitioned from emotionally charged abstract imagery painted on non-traditional surfaces to figurative paintings on canvas with mixed media added to its surface. The work gives visual expression to my experiences growing up in the South within a large family and rich in lively personas. Often, I explore in a unique manner memories, myths, folktales and spiritual beliefs from that period.
My working process begins with observations, in-depth research to clarify ideas, making photographs for study purposes and creating a series of drawings to work out compositions before each painting. My artistic journey is a continuity of ideas and themes expressed through
experimentation of media, surfaces and studio techniques. There is always something new pushing my work forward and at the same time, I’m constantly returning to old ideas. In the end, I realize what is required to finish each painting. My hope is to capture textures, feelings and patterns of life; which represent motifs of a person in their environment. I challenge myself to test out new ideas and materials to keep the vision moving forward.
My new body of work comprises of large-scale canvases measuring 60”W x76H” or larger. Each is meticulously composed of human figures in homage to the classical techniques of masters such as Caravaggio and Michelangelo. The figures are posed within cluttered spaces reminiscent of Dutch paintings. I incorporate a translucent and bold color palette, dense patterns and energized surfaces found in African American homes and in diverse communities.
My current work evolved from a four-year exploration of developing surfaces and incorporating mixed media including stencils, stitching, inks, and glued fabrics that are integral to the painting.
This work in progress moves my contemporary paintings into a new phase of creativity. When something is added to the canvas, it is about augmenting or completing an idea. The goal is to take that idea to a different level beyond the lines. I am interested in metaphorically depicting life-size figures in various emotional and psychological states and invite the viewer to contemplate their meaning.
I treasure and present this body of work as household “shrines” possessing personal, political, and spiritual significance.
I hope you see that too.