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 Bob Emser  (1954 - )

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: non objective, planes, trains and boats

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted by the artist:

Bob Emser is an international sculptor, having shown on 4 continents, 7 countries and 27 states in the U.S.  His extensive body of work, dating back to 1978, can be seen in cities and municipalities, sculpture parks, museums and institutions of higher learning.  During his 25+  year career he has served as a visiting artist and has taught at several universities, held a tenured professorship, and founded a not-for-profit art center that is still in existence. He has also served as the executive director of Chicago’s international sculpture exhibition, Pier Walk. Currently he is the president of Chicago Sculpture International, the local affiliate of International Sculpture Center, on whose Board of Directors he sits.  Emser focuses his full time efforts creating sculptures for public and private spaces.

Bob was born in 1954 in Illinois, at the height of the baby boom. Influenced both by the constant house construction of the era and his father, a mechanical engineer, he spent most of his early years building and playing with machines. This grew into a fascination with model airplanes that he shared with his father.

Emser's interest in structure lead him to begin his formal education in the study of architecture. Feeling the constrains of architecture and the excitement of his first art course, sculpture, he shifted his focus to the full time study of sculpture. After being awarded a full time graduate assistantship in sculpture, from Bradley University, Emser completed his M.F.A. in 1978. Gaining quick regional acceptance of his figurative laminated wood sculptures.

Emser was the youngest sculptor to have his work selected for prestigious Illinois Arts Councils Sculpture Exhibition. The sculptures were exhibited in and around Chicago and travel through out the state during the year of 1978.

In addition to his commitment to the making of art Emser founded the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, in 1995, a not for profit visual art center that was the seminal push for the redevelopment of Peoria's riverfront.

In 2000 and 2001 he served as Executive Director of Chicago's International Sculpture exhibit, Pier Walk.

From the beginning Emser's work has dealt with the internal structure and how that structure supported or became visible on the exterior. Emser's current body of work is derived from and is a reference to pioneering spirit of aviation and nautical history. The titles of the works give us a handle into this reference, which only stands as a metaphor for his life experiences.

Emser splits his time between his Chicago and Eureka studios focusing his efforts on creating sculptures for public and private spaces, lecturing and consulting on contemporary issues in public sculpture.

Museum Collections:
Swope Museum, Terra Haute, IN
Dennos Museum, Traverse City, MI
Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL
Mitchell Museum, Cedarhurst Sculpture Park, Mount Vernon, IL
Freeport Art Museum, Freeport, IL
University Museum, Rio Grande, OH
Lakeview Museum, Peoria, IL
Hinkhouse Collection, Eureka College, Eureka, IL
Books where referenced:
2007 Kennedy Publishing Best Of America Sculpture Vol. 1 (color plates)
2004 Crow Wood Publication living Artists Edited by Ivy Sundell (color plates)

Periodicals where referenced. 
May 2006 Art in America by Victor M. Cassidy
Sept. 8, 2005 The Northern Star Drawing on Walls by David Rauch
June 24 2005 Strandbuen, Jorpeland Norway Fra skrap til Kent by Bente L. Henriksen
June 8,2005 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Riverwalk
June 25, 2004 Pasatiempo, Santa Fe, MN Gallery Wise Bob Emser: Fluid Form by Craig Smith
July 23, 2004 The Daily New, Newburyport, MA New works to sculpture Park by Sonya Vartabedian
July 22 2004 The Herald-Palladium Mixed media at the Krasl by San Dee Wallace
April 2004 Sculpture Magazine vol. 23 no. 3
March 26, 2004 Chicago Sun-Times Gallery Glance by Margaret Hawkins

International Exhibits:
Stavanger, Norway Symposia 18-8 Stainless Steel Symposium June 2005
Cordoba, Argentina, Mask, Another Skin November 2004
Sydney, Australia, Sculpture by the Sea-Bondi 2002
Rome, Italy "Six Chicago Sculptors" EUR Lake, September-October 2000
Paris, France Salon de Marly le Roi, February 1999
Friedrichshafen, West Germany, Stadt.  Bodensee-Museum, April-May 1985

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
Zone Gallery Kansas City, MO June 3 – July 7, 2006
Northern Illinois University Art Museum Shadow Drawings Aug. 22 - Dec. 12, 2005
Purdue University North Central Westville, IN Nov.-March 2004-5
Krasl Art Center, St Joseph, MI July-Aug. 2004
Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL February. 28-April 18, 2004
Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, Peoria, IL November - December 1998
Galesburg Civic Art Center, Galesburg, IL, July 1998
Gallery 510, Decatur, IL, August 1997
Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL, January 1997
Peoria Art Guild, New Environments, Peoria, IL, March 1994
University of Rio Grande, Rio Grande, OH, April 1993
Round River Gallery, Works for the Future, Peoria, IL, October 1992
Eureka College, It's About Time, Sculpture Installation, March 1990
Bradley University, Ten Years After: A Space in Time, Peoria, IL, November 1988
Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL, September 1981
Freeport Art Museum, Freeport, IL, April 1981
Rockford Council for the Arts and Sciences, Rockford, IL, September 1980

Selected Group Exhibitions:
Sculpture Invasion Koehnline Museum of Art July 12-August 30, 2007
Krasl Biennial Sculpture Invitational Chicago Sculpture International September 28 – October 29, 2006
CSI BIENNALE 2006 Chicago Sculpture International Juried Exhibit, May 5 – June 16, 2006
9th International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibit, University of Hawaii’s Art Gallery, March 5-April 13,2006
Chicago, IL Artist/Model-maker/Sculptor Continental Building October 2005 
Chicago, IL Art on the River June-October 2005
Greeley, Colorado 8th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit February 2005-06
Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit Mill Brook Gallery, Concord. NH June-October 2004
Somerby's Landing Sculpture 2004 / 05 Newburyport, MA
Purdue University North Central Sculpture Symposium   Westville, IN Oct 2003
Convergence Outdoor Sculpture Providence, RI July 2003 - 2004
ISC @ GFS Hamilton, NJ July 2003
New Hope Sculpture Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit   New Hope, PA June – May 2003-4
Lincoln Park Outdoor Sculpture Chicago Sculptors   Chicago, IL April – October 2003
Soho20 Gallery Art in America Curated “Spring Invitational” New York, NY. March 25-April 19, 2003
Polk Museum “Third Annual Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition” Received Best of Show. Lakeland, FL
 March 2004 - February 2004
Sarasota Season of Sculpture, Sarasota, FL November-May 2003
Monarch Sculpture Park Olympia, WA October 2002- 2004
Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition 2002 Bellevue, WA June 21- October 7, 2002 Invited Artist
North Carolina Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit Greensboro, NC June 2002-April 2003
Flossmoor Sculpture Park, Flossmoor, IL November 2001-2003
Chicago’s Navy Pier, Pier Walk ‘2001 International Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago, IL May 5 - October 18, 2001
Milwaukee River Walk, Milwaukee, WI May - October 2001
Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL October 2000-2002
Chicago’s Navy Pier, Pier Walk ‘2000 International Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago, IL May 5- November 8, 2000
Cedarhurst Sculpture Park, Mt. Vernon, IL October 1999 Purchased for the permanent collection
Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Arts Council, Sculpture on Second Cedar Rapids, IA July 1999- June 2000
Chicago’s Navy Pier, Pier Walk ‘99 International Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago, IL May 6- November 18, 1999
Lakeview Museum, Works on the Move (kinetic sculpture) Peoria, IL December -January 1998-99
Chicago’s Navy Pier, Pier Walk ‘98 International Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago, IL May 6 - October 18, 1998
West Bend Friends of Sculpture, River Park, West Bend, WI 1997-2000
River Gallery, Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, Chattanooga, TN 1997-98
Chicago’s Navy Pier, Pier Walk ‘97, International Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago, IL May 2 - October 20, 1997
Peoria’s Festival Park, Riverfront Sculpture Walk ‘97, Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, Peoria, IL July – October 1997
University of Rio Grande, Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, 2year sculpture exhibit, Rio Grande, OH, 1996-98
Chicago’s Navy Pier, Pier Walk ‘96, International Sculpture Invitational, Chicago, IL May 2-November 2, 1996
Festival Park, Riverfront Sculpture Walk ‘96, Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, Peoria, IL July - October 1996
Lexington Art League, The Nude 94, Lexington, KY, January 1994
John A. Logan College Museum, Crafts Regional 1993, Carterville, IL November 1993
Mitchell Museum, 15th Southern Illinois Artists' Competition and Exhibition, Mount Vernon, IL September 1993
Illinois State Fair, Professional Art Exhibit, Springfield, IL August 1993
East Bluff Art Gallery, Sculptors Seven, Peoria, IL, November 1992
Illinois Central College, Four Professors, Peoria, IL, February 1989
Lakeview Museum, Five Sculptors, Peoria, IL, June 1988
Peoria Civic Center, Peoria Area Sculptors' lnvitational, summer 1983
Lakeview Museum, Selections V, Peoria, IL, November 1982
Illinois State Museum, 32nd Illinois Invitational, Springfield, IL Summer 1980
Ball State University, 26th Annual Small Sculpture Show, Muncie, IN, May 1980
Illinois Arts Council, The Illinois Traveling Sculpture Exhibition Statewide, 1978-1979

Two-Person Exhibitions:
Illinois Central College, Exteriors Within, Peoria, IL, October 1999
Illinois DOT, Springfield, IL, August 1985
Galesburg Civic Art Center, Galesburg, IL, March 1981
University of Illinois, Springfield, IL, October 1979

Memberships in Art-Related Associations:
International Sculpture Center Member of the Board of Directors 2005- on
Chicago Sculpture International , President/Co-Founder   2004- on
Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, Board of Directors  2006- on

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