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ART & SEEKING INTERVIEW 2015
Robin Murez is a public artist and instructor based in Los Angeles, California. Her sculptural installations throughout the US have won numerous awards, critical acclaim and are loved by their communities.
From transforming blighted street corners to creating surprising, contemplative and beautiful public spaces, Murez’ work relates seamlessly, if not unexpectedly, to its community and site, as it inspires sensory experiences and provokes conceptual investigations.
Both abstract and figurative, Murez’ work is often narrative: sculptural installations that set the stage and invite viewers to be transported into the story. Aesthetics and unexpected surprises draw viewers in, they then enjoy etherial sensations and explore conceptual beliefs.
Murez works both two and three dimensionally, in a wide range of mediums including bronze, concrete, glass, stone, resin, mosaic, steel, light, paint, earth and digital media. The scale of her work is from architectural to intimate and often draws upon the cultural history of individuals and communities.
In 2001, Murez created Venice Public Art to re-invigorate and build community in her hometown, Venice, CA. She adds unexpected artistic interactions of its fascinating origins to street corners throughout the neighborhood. There are now a dozen sculptural installations. They range from earthworks to anamorphic street painting to a no-tech peep hole box and lifesize topiaries that recreate a curious scene: when live camels strolled the streets of Venice of America.
Interaction, movement and the human form are recurring themes in Murez’ work. Her "Cha Cha Cha" in Napa, CA is kinetic sculpture that inspires passersby to dance. It won the Peoples Choice Award. A similar Dance Step sculpture is to be installed in Houston, TX in 2015.
Murez’ national commission for the Entry Plaza at the Oakland, California Zoo is an art installation adored by children and their families. "It sets the tone of discovery," provides fascinations for kids and a respite for parents.
Murez collaborated on the creation of the phenomenally acclaimed City Museum in St Louis. “It was primarily Bob Cassilly and I, having a blast, making whatever we dreamed up.” City Museum has won numerous awards, including being named one of the “Great Places of the World,” by the Project for Public Places.
Also in St Louis, Murez was awarded a prestigious Artist in Residency from Laumeier Sculpture Park with one year exhibition. She was commissioned by MetroLink and Lacledes Landing for her award winning permanent sculptural installation, “Missouri Tall Grass,” adjacent to the St Louis Arch, and was awarded several commissions in University City, Grand Center, for corporations, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and elsewhere in the region. In intervals, Murez has created a sculptural installation in and around the 350 foot long lily pond in Francis Park. It was voted “Best Public Park,” for her sculptures.
Murez teaches Public Art in the Department of Creative Action at Otis College of Art & Design. She inspires the students to think big and enables them to realize projects for their community clients. In 2014 she initiated a public art / performance parade class. Annually, it wins the Westchester Chairpersons Choice Award and draws repeat students who never imagined that they might "make an impact and make such cool, huge, moving sculptures."
Murez received her undergraduate degree in Art History and Anthropology from Oberlin College, her Law Degree from Antioch School of Law, and her Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Washington University.
Murez is fluent in French and conversant in Spanish. She attended a public Lycee in France and passed the Baccelauriate Francais during High School. More recently, she was an Invited Artist to Sweden by the Swedish Consulate, sculpted camels in India, studied in the Middle East, lived in South America, and has traveled to many parts of the world.
HONORS AND AWARDS
Chairpersons Choice Award, Westchester, CA 4th of July Parade, Otis College of Art & Design: "Whose Puppet?" 2014
Research Travel Grant, Otis College of Art & Design, "Puppetry in Prague" 2014
Chairpersons Choice Award, Westchester, CA 4th of July Parade, Otis College of Art & Design: "We're Surrounded" 2014
Peoples Choice Award, Downtown Napa, "The Cha Cha Cha" 2013
Voted: Best Public Park, The Riverfront Times,2005
Great Places of the World, Project for Public Places, City Museum 2005
Award for Craftsmanship, American Institute of Architecture (AIA), 2000
Cityscape Award, Downtown St. Louis Inc. for City Museum 2000
Downtown Beautification Award, Downtown St. Louis Inc. for “Missouri Tall Grass” 1999
Washington Avenue Art Walk, First Prize, “Autobiographical Blades” 1999
Artist in Residence, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Glass Pods and Concrete Pods 1998-1999
Invited Artist to Sweden, Swedish Government Consulate, "Glass Mobiles" 1998
Houston, TX Caldwell Properties "The Cha Cha Cha," Stainless Steel footprints, arrows and text installed on the sidewalk engage passersby to dance. 5' x 6' x 1/4". Installation pending 2015Downtown Napa, CA Riverfront,"The Cha Cha Cha," Stainless Steel footprints, arrows and text installed on the sidewalk engage passersby to dance. 5' x 6' x 1/4". 2011 Winner: People's Choice Award 2013
Venice Public Art: permanent interactive no-tech narrative sculptural installations on Abbot Kinney Boulevard (AKB), Main Street and elsewhere in Venice, CA
"The Camel Snapshot Topiaries," 4 figures: 20' x 10' x 3', 600 Main Street, 2015
"The Kinney Tabor House" Moire Animation Sculpture 8" x 8" x 2" steel with acylic & aluminum, 1209 AKB, 2015
"The Venice Public Art Gallery," 6' x 2' diameter steel rack with art supplies, 1629 AKB, 2015
"The Winged Lion," 12" x 8" x 5" welded steel lion, sign & post, 1505 AKB, 2014
"Coin Toss Thaumatrope," 8" x 8" x 2" soldered copper Coin, 1337 AKB 2014
"Charlie Chaplin Zoetrope," 14" diameter x 14" tall steel drum with vinyl 1416 AKB Caudalie. 2014
"Main St. 1910 Peep Hole Box," 13" x 7" x 5" welded steel with vinyl diorama, 1326 AKB, 2014
"Camel Riders circa 1906," Paint & wheatpast mural 8' tall x 15' wall 1422 AKB Blueprint, 2013
"Mr. Abbot Kinney On His Boulevard," Paint & wheatpast mural 8' tall x 30' wall 1422 AKB, Blueprint, 2013
"Making Waves," An overlay of painted waves on streets that were once canals, 2013
"Mr. Abbot Kinney Reflected," 12' anamorphic sculptural portrait painted on sidewalk with 6' tall x 14" diameter stainless steel column. Electric @ San Juan Street 2013
"Neighborhood Book Park," Wood book sharing box 2' x 2' x 5.' 2012 Altair @ Andalusia 2012
"Dance Steps," Activation of an unused City park with seven dance maps painted on concrete walkways. Centennial Park 2011
"The Venice Labyrinth" Transformation of a dangerous blighted corner, owned by a church, into a community greenspace with in-ground spiritual labyrinth, mosaic sphere sculptural seating, landscaping, irrigation, and a fresh Victorian paint rejuvinating the Church building. My concept & design. Community involvement, private & corporate funding. 2010
" The Venice Corner Ball Park, 80 x 40 sq foot earthworks mounds with 4- 3’ diameter concrete with granite mosaic balls, LA Beautification Grant 2008 & 2015
Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, Giant Saluki Egyptian Dogs atop grand stairway plinths at entry to the University athletic stadium. 6' high x 11' long x 4' wide. Each is 2400 lbs sculpted gunite concrete. 2010
Springfield, MO Nature Center, Bronze Bugs installed on pathways 2010
Webster Elementary School, Webster, MO, Bronze Bugs installed on seat wall and pathways. 2009
Tilles Park, Children’s Playground, Bronze Bugs embedded on the fountain seat wall and hidden on boulders provide a beautiful element of discovery for children and a functional precaution against skateboard damage. Ladue, MO 2006
Francis Park, Phase 1,2 & 3: Sculptures and Seating in and around a 350' long x 30' wide Lily Pond, Mermaid, 2 Dragon Throne Benches, Dragon, Gargoyle, Luminous Heart, Sea Weed, Frogs and the Prince, and Mosaic Spheres. Concrete with marble, copper, glass and ceramic shards mosaics. St. Louis Hills, MO 2002, 2004 & 2008. Voted Best Public Park 2005
California Arts Council Grant, Open Charter Magnet School & reDiscover, Sculptural Entryway. Los Angeles, CA 2007
Oakland Zoo, Interactive Installations, Sculptural installations for the entry plaza and throughout of the Oakland Children’s Zoo. Giant abstract bronze “blades” and bugs with sculpted concrete eggs, two 30’ serpent benches and creek water feature. Oakland, CA 2005
MetroLink Bus: Bard & Mermaid, commissioned paintings on both sides of public bus 2001
The People Project: Ten life sized fiberglass sculptures commissioned by sponsoring corporations: St. Louis Post Dispatch, Fox Theatre, Monsanto, Anheuser Busch, Commerce Bank, St Louis Galleria. Three month display; actioned 2001
University City Entrance, Lion in the Grass, Permanent Outdoor Sculptural Installation, mirror glass shard mosaic on concrete sculpture with native tall grass landscaping, U City, MO 2002
Mini Lions, A dozen 10” Cast stone, granite and copper 2003.
Lacledes Landing, Missouri Tall Grass, Permanent Outdoor Sculptural Installation on the riverfront, just upstream of the St. Louis Arch, glass mosaic on steel reinforced concrete, Lacledes Landing MO 1999 Recipient: Downtown Beautification Award 2000
City Museum, collaboration on the creation of eclectic interactive museum. Housed my glass blowing & sculpture studio. Bought out by the Museum in 2000. Awards abound. St. Louis, MO 1997-2000.
Cedarhurst Sculpture Park – Mitchell Museum, Pods, Outdoor Concrete Sculpture Installation, Mt. Vernon IL 2000 – present
Laumeier Sculpture Park, Solo Exhibition, Pods, Indoor Blown & Cast Glass 1998-99 and Outdoor Concrete Sculpture Installation, St. Louis, MO 1998-2000
MetroLink Arts in Transit, Treasure, Giant blown glass jewels suspended in tunnel arches in MetroLink, The subway ride becomes like Raiders of the Lost Arc, discovering hidden underground treasures. A double entendre: To “treasure” the beauty of the ancient underground tunnels. St. Louis, MO 1997
University City, Architectural Beads, Giant sculpted foam beads suspended about 80’ City Hall building, temporary installation, University City, MO 1996
Commerce Bank, Trade Beads, Giant blown glass beads suspended in the bank lobby, temporary installation, University City MO 1996
TEACHING: PUBLIC ART / CREATIVE ACTION @ OTIS COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN 2011 - present
Independance Day Parade, "Whose Puppet?" 16' tall x 4' x 6' paper mache arm golf cart suspending a globe, 20 blue and black paper umbrellas, paper mache and cardboard fish, birds and beach goers. Westchester, CA. Otis College of Art and Design 2015
Independance Day Parade, "We're Surrounded. Art for Endangered Non Humans," one rhino golf cart, 10 big heads, 8 shark & whale bikes, 5 dancing condors, 2 honeybee stiltwalkers, one paper lion, logo, banners, swag, music & more. Westchester, CA. Otis College of Art and Design 2014
Foundation for the Junior Blind, "Tactile Painting" as Mentor Instructor I guided Otis College of Art & Design students in concept, design & fabrication. Spring 2013
Foundation for the Junior Blind, "Sculptural Chimes" and "Lawn Clock" as Mentor Instructor I guided Otis College of Art & Design students in concept, design & fabrication. Spring 2012
Los Angeles Unified School District - La Tijera Elementary, "Tiger Topiary" & "Pigmented Concrete River & Paws Prints" as Mentor Instructor I guided Otis College of Art & Design students in concept, design & fabrication. Fall 2011
Masters of Fine Arts, Washington University School of Art, St. Louis, MO 1996
Juris Doctorate, Antioch School of Law, Washington, DC
Bachelor of Arts, Oberlin College, Anthropology/Art History, Oberlin, OH
Stonington, Maine 2014
The Vermont Studio Center 2007
Concordia Brickworks 2007
PUBLIC ART CONSULTATION & DESIGN
Venice Heritage Foundation - Board Member 2013 - present see: veniceheritagefoundation.org
Venice Public Art Forum, Creator, Board Member 2005 - present see: www.venicepublicart.com
Venice Neighborhood Council Arts Committee 2006-2008
Venice Trust, Public Art Advisor 2006 - 2007
Venice Arts Council, Board Member 2005-2006
Clayton Art Commission, Co-Chairperson 1999, Board Member 1997-2001
MetroLink, Artist Consultant on Site Charette Team 1999
Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts, Conference Speaker 1999
University City Arts & Letters Commission, Public Art Lecturer 1999
Swedish Consulate, Official Invited Artist to Stockholm & Smalland, Sweden 1998
Chesterfield Arts Commission, Lecture Panelist with: Joel Shapiro, sculptor, Jim Burke, Dir. StL Art Museum, Jill McGuire, Dir. Regional Arts Commission, Sarah Smith, Dir. Arts In Transit, 1997
Craft Alliance, Curriculum & Studio Design for Educational Glass Studio 1996
Robin’s Sculpture Garden, Transformed an abandoned commercial lot into a studio, gallery, and performance space with a 75 seat grass tiered amphitheater and 30' tall aerials rig. Hosted Performance Arts events for the public. 1632 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 2001-2013
Burningman, 2006, 2007- Damselflies, 2008 Lollipops 2009 Pete & Tink's Hideaway collaboration with Greg Fleishman, 2010 Mirabelle 2011 Maleflies.
Venice Art Walk, Sculptural Installations - new work, Blown Glass, Bronze, Concrete, Steel and Earthworks, Los Angeles, CA 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Washington Avenue Art Walk Sculpture Garden, Autobiographical Blades, steel and steel mesh. Awarded: FIRST PRIZE, St. Louis, MO 1999
RCGA Offices, Spikes, Blown Glass and Marble Sculptures, St. Louis, MO 1999
First Night St. Louis, Performance Artist & Sculptor, St. Louis, MO 1996 & 1997
CBK Mileau, Glass Blades, Glass Totems, Clayton MO 1997-98
CITY Museum, Human Kaleidoscope, Architectural Reuse, Mosaics, Eyes, Glass Blades, Glass Sculpture Installations, performance, concepts & designs used throughout. St. Louis, MO 1997-2000.
Springfield Art Museum, Invitational, Necklace for the Gods, Springfield, IL 1997
R. Duane Reed Gallery, Forest of Glass Blades & Totems, St. Louis, MO 1997
Atlanta Olympics - 342 Peachtree, Olympic Beads, Temporary Public Art Sculpture, Sculpted Foam, Atlanta, GA 1996
Glass Art Society, International Annual Group Show, Boston, MA June 1996
Attorney, member of the Bar 1980 – 2000
Represented professional athletes and produced charitable sporting events i.e., NBA All Star Games & PGA Pro Am Golf Tournaments. Clients included: NBA: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Terry Cummings, Alex English, Ralph Sampson; LPGA: Rosie Jones; Japan LPGA: Becky Herbert; PGA Pro Am: Paul Azinger/Strong Memorial Hospital to 1994
United States Commission on Civil Rights - Researcher/Writer 1977-1979
PUBLIC SCULPTING SKILLS INCLUDE
Welding steel & bronze, cast bronze sculpting, chasing & patination, waterjet cutting, gunite concrete sculpting, glass blowing & casting, ceramics, mosaic, paper, fiberglass construction, water features, earthworks, landscape & plant design, sound & lighting, site planning and site drawing.
Experience in installation methods, ADA requirements, safety codes and regulations, vandalism & climate concerns. Collaborations with arts professionals, engineers, contractors, artists and architects.
PRESS, VIDEO & REFERENCES available upon request
Tawney Bevacqua "Living the Vacation Life in Venice" encounters Robin Murez