Press Release


Bob Dilworth – Artist, Educator

Bob Dilworth

click to enlarge


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.

These items and patterns represent a  Bob Dilworthrange of emotions and memories for those who inhabit the space.

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.

Bob Dilworth

Artboards RI – Bob’s Art on Billboards in Jan 2015


Bob Dilworth - Billboard RI - Backyard

Photo by Bob Dilworth
An image of Bob Dilworth’s work, “Backyard,” will be displayed on a billboard in Providence in January, as part of the Artboards RI project. The original work was made this year from acrylic, oil and ink paint.

Look for Bob’s work on billboards in the Valley Street, Allens Avenue or Charles Street area in Providence as the works of local artists are posted on billboards intended to engage schools and other community organizations within walking distance of the billboards in conversations about the art. Bob’s work named “Backyard” will be displayed on a billboard in January.

There is a great article on penned by Melanie Saunders which gives a great description of  of the idea, history, and focus of this interesting project.

“Backyard,” Dilworth said, is an “outdoor” piece because of what it depicts, but it was difficult to make the choice of what to submit because he could see a few of his other works doing well outdoors. When asked if the project could be categorized as street art, another outdoor art form with revived interest, he said that he sees this project as having both a different philosophy and execution.

“Street art is spontaneous – it’s made there on the spot. Usually, there’s not a lot of forethought and has more to do with this element of tagging, relying on just that energy of the moment,” he said. “Whereas what we’re doing is almost the opposite. These are studio pieces that are really much considered and created without the idea of ever being placed on a billboard or outside.”

Bob Dilworth


The Providence Phoenix comments


Under the Title “Local Luminaries The 2014 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition” Greg Cook  writes in the Providence Phoenix:

“Reenacting a childhood photo, portraits of fabulous old ladies, and dollhouse meditations on architecture are among the artworks featured in the “2014 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition,” at the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative Mill Gallery (560 Mineral Spring Ave, Pawtucket, through March 28). The show rounds up 12 artists and collaboratives that the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts has awarded $5000 to $1000 grants this year. Below are six projects that particularly caught my attention.

Dilworth’s ‘Venus.’

Bob Dilworth goes over the top with decoration and fabulousness in his painting Venus — and it’s just the right move. It appears to be a portrait of two women in matching dresses and shawls seated side by side on a couch. Actually, it’s a repeated portrait of the same octogenarian singer friend twice. The faces are black-and-white photo transfers, one looking skeptical, the other with an impish smile. The rest is exuberant color and pattern — leafy rugs and cushions and shawls overlaid by webs of fluorescent green studded with real sparkling rhinestones. Rather than painting the background, Dilworth inserts flower-patterned fabric. The effect of it all is a sundae with everything on it. You can’t get too much of a good thing.”

Read more




dbobd01-120-blk and Bob’s New Year Resolution


January 2nd, 2013 Amanda Lyn DiSanto shared with the world the New Year’s resolutions of four area artists.

Yours truly was the subject of a couple of paragraphs which I reproduce here:

Dilworth_The_9th_Jewel-crpdUniversity of Rhode Island Art and Art History Department Chairman Bob Dilworth, who teaches painting, design, and African-American art history, has also made resolutions that involve community. These include conducting sewing circles in cities throughout the U.S., including Newport and Providence over the holidays. Dilworth’s current project, “Telling Without Words — A Community Installation,” is a series of sewn, framed figures decorated with beads, coins, nails, pins, hair and fabric. The figures are meant to “reflect the improvisational element of African-American life and lifestyles.” Dilworth stated that he looks “for ethereal, spiritual, and intriguing physical qualities, often achieved through collaged black and white photos sewn onto the heads of” the figures. The sewing circles bring family, old and new friends together to construct the figures.

Dilworth also resolves to make more time for this project by applying for grants and artist residencies. Most artists rely on support from universities and organizations, such as the Guggenheim Foundation, to which Dilworth submitted work in hopes of receiving funding. Dilworth, who lives and works in Providence, has also submitted work from this project to the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler and will exhibit at Gallery Z in Providence sometime in 2013.


Resolved: make more art
Amanda Lyn DiSanto
January 2, 2013



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