I create detailed visual environments that consider the complex relationship between humans, nature, and the cosmos. Through painting, I explore the worlds of tiny cells, flowering botanicals, aquatic species, and celestial bodies. Moving between the real and imagined, my work brings together microscopic and telescopic views; I position hybrid floral/faunal forms within a space that simultaneously evokes the deep sea and the cosmos. The works begin intuitively, through layering transparent washes with opaque shapes. Next, more details and real references are added by responding to what’s happing in the composition. This stage is informed by photographs and expressed by layering colors and patterns. Though my paintings may reference real subjects, they must develop new conditions on the painted pictorial surface. By creating associations between things that are seemingly disparate, such as particles and stars, my work presents a question or sparks a curiosity about the universe. In this way, my paintings respond to biodiversity, in order to suggest a sense of place within the natural world and create a sense of wonder.
Renee Robbins is a Chicago-based visual artist who layers biomorphic forms to create detailed otherworldly environments. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will present a solo exhibition of her work in 2018. She has been awarded public art commissions with Chicago Public Art Group, Wabash Arts Corridor, and the Capital Development Board’s Art-In-Architecture program. She has exhibited widely, including exhibitions at Lois Lambert Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL; Firecat Projects, Chicago, IL; and the Alden B Dow Museum of Science and Art, Midland, MI. The Chicago Gallery News featured her work as a ‘Young Chicago Artist’ to watch. The forms in her paintings have been classified by a diatom taxonomist in an artist feature on the US Diatoms database at the University of Colorado. Robbins received her MFA from Michigan State University and a BFA from the University of Kentucky and has been working in Chicago since 2007.