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 Robert Yarber  (1948 - )

About: Robert Yarber


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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: surreal action genre and figure painting, teaching

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BIOGRAPHY for Robert Yarber
1948 (Dallas, Texas)

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surreal action genre and figure painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An oil painter of action figure and genre paintings in luminous colors, Robert Yarber is very interested in "the convergence of traditional arts with new media", (Bowles) and he often utilizes digital imaging with his painting.

Yarber was born in Dallas, Texas and earned a BFA degree in painting in 1971 from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City.  In 1974, he received an MFA in painting from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.  Exhibition venues have included New York, San Francisco, and Prato and Sarnico, Italy, as well as locations in Russia, France, Germany and Brazil.  His first exhibition was in Los Angeles.  In 1988, he had a solo exhibition, Robert Yarber paintings 1980-1988" at the Palmer Museum of Art at University Park, Pennsylvania.

Yarber is also an art instructor and has been in residence at New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, and The University of Texas at Austin.  In 1994, he joined the faculty of Penn State University and teaches drawing, painting and a seminar of critical theory.   In 2003, he became Distinguished Professor of Art at Penn State, the first person at that institution to receive that recognition.

Many of his early paintings have "stubby cartoon figures floating or falling through the night sky over garishly illuminated skylines" and suggest "out-of-body-states: the ecstasy of love, the freedom of disembodied spirit, the nightmare of free fall."  In the late 1990s, his approach began to change, whereby he used "digitally manipulated imagery applied by ink jet to canvas" on which he paints.  His work seems more photographic, which makes them more disturbing real as they are propelled "from the realm of dream into a strange netherworld between artifice and actuality." (Heartney)

Subjects include allegorical religious images, science fiction, body snatching as part of courtship and alien abduction.

Sources include:
Eleanor Heartney, "Robert Yarber at Sonnabend", Art in America, February 1999, p. 106

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