Neil Roberts

Whiteley, Richard,

"Neil Roberts 1954–2002"

Craft ACT Newsletter, Obituary, Autumn/Winter 2002.

Richard Whiteley

Like many, I feel extremely fortunate to have known Neil Roberts in his multi-layered roles of former teacher, professional artist, event coordinator and friend. Neil had a unique ability to touch all he met. He had an unparalleled capacity to listen and could relate to a broad spectrum of individuals from all walks of life. Neil was always interested and his passion for life was infectious.

Within his work, Neil moved seamlessly through several boundaries of visual arts: he made poignant works out of laboured and discarded objects. His palette included glass, discarded tools, leather aprons, tired footballs and also neon. Neil’s work mainly explored layers of masculinity and as such his materials were all old, heavily laboured and stained with the memory of work. His pieces renewed these found objects in fresh and witty dissections and re-combinations. Regardless of the materials or subjects, all of his work was well composed, spontaneous, powerful and insightful; qualities also strongly reflected in his personality.

I have never met an individual with such compassion and love for life and for all who were close to him. He will be remembered through the living memory of his work, as well as the many people who were touched by a truly wonderful man. Neil is survived by his wife Barbara, and our thoughts are with her.

Richard Whiteley

Craftsperson & President Object, Australian Centre for Craft and Design,