PLIGHT & APLOMB 2022
Plight and Aplomb is a collection of 13 curated works by Canadian sculptor David Robinson over the past decade. Within each piece, Robinson explores human vulnerability to create a shared narrative about the ever-changing perspective on the human experience.
Enormous in presence, abstract and geometric in shape, and crafted from steel, silver, concrete, and bronze, each of Robinson’s sculptures abound with symbolism representative of our strength and our fragility. Magnifying this duality are the tiny bronze figures featured within, each one precariously positioned between large-scale cracked spheres or twin columns, set atop steely pillars, or nestled inside a large skiff. Individually and combined, they clearly express Robinson’s insight, that we all, spiritually and physically, feel simultaneously small and triumphant within the shifting dark and brilliant moments of life.
These moments of Plight and Aplomb can invoke feelings of angst and tension when viewing Robinson’s work. “I do bear some feeling for moving the needle of inference toward striving and away from plight per se,” says Robinson. “As for the titular ‘aplomb,’ the word bears a connotation of poise amid unseen forces; it posits a true and plumb-line of individual personhood amid the heaving plate-tectonics of our time.” Robinson uses spatial and material arrangements of the formal and the figurative as catalyst and crux to moments of aesthetic poise, tension, and reflection. “The figure at the nucleus sparks a connection between the viewer and our human propensity for narrative as personal and communal catharsis,” adds the artist. “It speaks across boundaries of age and culture; it withstands the shifting moment, while marking the path in a flow of continuous change.”
A flow that intentionally and defiantly veers away from the viewpoint that societal conformity provides a sense of security. As reflected in Robinson’s choice of industrial-like materials and minimalistic aesthetic, his works resonates on a deeper level depicting the connection between plight and aplomb; the fall and the rise of humankind by merging stark environments with nuanced humanity. “Art is a powerful mediator in our search for truth,” says Sage MacGillivray, the director of the Robinson Studio. “It offers new vantage points from which we may observe and then metabolize what is difficult or unresolved in our lives.” Created with deep intuition and skill, Robinson’s figures are potent proxies for ourselves, for those we encounter and for the whole of humanity. Introspective and unique, they provide a glimpse inside both our personal struggles and their prolific gains.