Robin Antar Biography
American sculptor Robin Antar was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1957. She was uprooted from her surroundings when her family moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1973. The social landscape at her new high school was brutal for the newly-arrived teenager and Antar began learning to carve in stone as a means of survival, using art as her emotional lifeline.
Antar was completely devoted to her sculpture. She would work for hours in the school’s studio, and then again at home in her parents’ basement. Her father would have to go downstairs at 2 a.m. to remind her to go to sleep.
In 1976, Antar suddenly discovered she was blind in one eye – and had been since birth. The retrolental fibroplasia that had compromised the vision in her right eye soon became an integral tool among the techniques she used to create her art.
The early years of her artistic practice were spent in abstraction as she sculpted and painted her newly-discovered limits and explored how her sculptures, in particular, could evolve despite an absence of depth perception.
Detached Retina by Robin Antar
She created a series of pieces specifically on her experience with “unbalanced vision” which she perceives as an extraordinary gift. Images are visualized from the inside out, rather than the outside in, with the subject matter drawn from within her immediate line of vision. Aesthetic beauty and superficial thought were none of her concern as she focused on fundamental feelings and basic sensations, resulting in sculptures with an uncommon perspective, jarring color and anomalous form.
Glasses by Robin Antar
Antar had already paid her dues in sweat and stone dust by the time she received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1981. She set up a working studio in Brooklyn, creating abstract sculptures in a loose, intuitive style deeply rooted in emotions and personal experiences.
Birth 1 by Robin Antar
Antar’s artistic path soon began to parallel the American art world’s evolution from Abstract Expressionism to Pop art: After years of creating abstract works, Antar turned to realism inspired by American popular culture – a move that provided the ultimate challenge of creating ways to sculpt detailed replicas of real-life objects.
“When I look at a three-dimensional form, there is confusion about what is concave and convex,” says Antar. “I use a straight edge, lining it up against the object and using the negative space (air space) in between to compensate for my vision impairment.”
She began work on her Realism in Stone series in 1998, bringing Pop art to stone by carving iconic American food and designer clothing with meticulous detail. A hamburger with fries, Oreo cookies and a giant hot dog on a bun with a bite taken out of it become lasting monuments to contemporary life.
Ballpark Frank by Robin Antar
Antar developed a special tinting process to stain the stone, a technique that allows her to duplicate the color of almost any product. Her sculptures are so realistic, the U.S. government refused her request to copyright one of her works of art because it too closely resembled the product she chose to record in stone.
One of her most powerfully symbolic works commemorates the September 11, 2001 attack on New York’s Twin Towers: an 800-pound white marble sculpture of a crumpled bag with colorful M&M’s spilling out of the top.
North Tower 9/11 by Robin Antar
Her distinct brand of hyperrealism caught the attention of Jeff Jaffe, owner of Pop International Galleries in New York City. Antar became the first female artist accepted on the roster of the Pop art and urban culture gallery that represents works by Andy Warhol and Rolling Stones musician Ronnie Wood, among others.
As her Realism in Stone sculptures continued to gain notoriety, Antar began receiving commissions to carve replicas of products for national and international companies such as Dr. Martens, Stella Artois, Skechers and Château Haut-Brion.
Robin Antar has been called “Brooklyn’s answer to Andy Warhol” by the New York Daily News and Chris Wakefield of Pop Culture Radio calls her work, “fun, smart and solid.”
Her sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the U.S., including Sotheby’s, The National Arts Club, Nabisco Gallery, City Museum of St. Louis, Provincetown Art Museum and the MGM Grand and she has been an elected member of the prestigious Allied Artists of America.
Antar’s work has been featured in Food Network Magazine, the New York Post, Art Business News, Huffington Post, Sportswear International, the New York Daily News, HGTV, Fox News, Today in New York and POP Culture Radio, among others.
Robin Antar continues to create out of her studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Most of the photographs of finished artwork were taken by Morris Gindi.