Eric Buterbaugh Florals Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by British born, Los Angeles-based artist Robert Lobetta. Encounter showcases Lobetta’s unique approach to collage, in which he juxtaposes found historical images, corporeal forms and luxury logoture to expose the purposely obfuscated relationship between art and economy. This is the artist’s first exhibition in the United States.
Prolific in the world of avant-garde hair design, Lobetta’s work was sought after by those in the editorial, advertising and film industries in the 1980s and ’90s. Numerous iconic campaigns led him to collaborate with photographers David Bailey and filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott, and spurred his passion for creating unforgettable images. Sebastian International took Lobetta on as Creative Director and Photographer for almost three decades. The artist took to photography in part because of its immediacy, a quality in hair dressing with which he powerfully identified. The move to collage was a natural one as it allowed Lobetta to work swiftly and intuitively. To create his new series, the artist arranged his compositions using a mix of his own photography and found materials with hand-applied details such as paper flowers and Swarovski crystals. While a selection of these collages exist as multimedia works, others are photographed and rendered digitally, effectively erasing any evidence of the artist’s hand.
Encounter showcases Lobetta’s brand of twisted elegance. Interested in the moment before a snap judgment is formed, the artist creates imagery that highlights the artificiality of surface encounters to interrogate what lies beneath. This relationship between what is said and what is understood is at work in pieces such as The Scent of Duchamp. Here, Lobetta showcases a model’s taut and glossy torso but replaces her head with Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain—appropriating the postmodern artist’s insistence of the viewer (rather than artist) as arbiter of meaning.
About Encounter, Robert Lobetta writes:
When composing my collages I work quickly and with intention; I aim for a sense of movement in all of the works that would be impossible if I overworked my source materials. I am drawn to intricacy within my images, and use it as an instrument to tell a story, to move the eye around and engage the viewer. As an imagemaker in such shifting times, I believe it is my role to try and capture new paradigms in the world of beauty, or at least seed a new idea.
Robert Lobetta (b.1953 in the East End of London) lives and works in Los Angeles. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award by the North American Hair Association in 2003 and a 2015 Legend Award from the International Press Association.
An opening reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, March 17, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Lobetta will be available by appointment to create unique commissioned collage portraits, photographed in the garden of Eric Buterbaugh Gallery.
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