KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City artist Robert Anthony considers himself a romanticist in the classical sense of the word. His career path certainly shows that. Born in Kansas City in 1986, he recently left a decade-long career in corporate marketing so he could pursue design technology, photography and contemporary ceramic art. Once a resident of Los Angeles, he’s currently studying at MCC-Penn Valley back in his hometown.
Above image: Robert Anthony, HALO, porcelain, 48 inches
What does it mean to be a romanticist today? To Anthony it means combining classical ideas with new technology, achieving moments the old masters would have appreciated with tech they could only dream of. Like Blake, Anthony is fascinated by the extremes of duality: good and evil, light and dark, and the attempt to strike a balance between the two. The piece we have to show you today, HALO, is the fruit of one such experiment.
This is one of the times where the pictures we have don’t do justice to the scale. Anthony told us that HALO was sculpted from more than 180 pounds of plaster and then cast in high-fire porcelain. Anthony fitted the ring with more than 144 customizable LED lights that are powered by a controller. The lights take on the different hues visible during sunrise, sunset and the lunar cycle. A thing to keep in mind is that in the right setting the piece is massive enough to be a worthy surrogate for the actual sun and moon. Only, unlike nature, Anthony’s work allows one to compare these lights and colors side-by-side, almost like a meditative act. From the artist:
Inspired by religious iconography, the circular form represents divinity. HALO captures the duality of light and shadow on two outer surfaces pushing and pulling from one another through a dividing channel splitting the piece. HALO projects into environment to create an immersive experience, amplifying mood through mesmerizing washes of light and color. Halo is a window into the heavens.
Like some of the romantic thinkers, HALO argues that duality is an illusion. Something intercedes in what used to be unity and creates the opposing forces of sunrise and sunset, day and night. They’re lovely on their own, but they share common ancestry in a perfectly white circle. The idea of opposites falls away and the poles are seen as different variations on the same melody.
In addition to his current studies, Anthony is an award winner from the Carter Arts Gallery at Penn Valley Community College student art show. Robert Anthony is working on his portfolio and will apply to a program for a BFA in Ceramics and Photography.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
Do you love or loathe this work of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.