Neil Roberts

Judd, Craig,


Crafts Victoria, Review, Vol. 26, # 31 1996. pp. 13 – 14

Craig Judd


There is a similar quiet poetry and provocative reversal in the work of Neil Roberts. Queenbeyan-based (sic) Roberts was trained as a glass blower but now is mostly concerned with found objects that have an innate story of making and usage. These objects have been discarded, then rediscovered and remade by Roberts. There is a nostalgic quality to their distressed and battered surfaces that is reminiscent of Rosalie Gascoigne’s domestic meditations. Roberts, like Lingard, wants to draw attention to the repetitive acts that constitute the everyday. Balls at Kunst focussed on traces of sports and game. Sports provide a surprising community focus and obviously have a loaded symbolic value within male culture. This is made clear in Auspicious Symbols where old footballs are split like fruit and splayed between old tennis racket frames once used to maintain tension for the catgut strings. This process of framing make the body sex allusions are difficult to avoid with the mononucloid forms echoing weird primordial glands dissected again for further delectation. The hyper-masculine becomes strangely fragile. In Pause in Time of Weariness, these bladderless and hence now useless footballs decorate upside down work aprons prettifying and so destabilising all recognitions of original use and function.