Sculpture's Dario Robleto Named Viola Frey Distinguished Visiting Professor

Dario Robleto and the spring 2014 Materialist Poetry Advanced Sculpture Workshop

The Sculpture Program invited Dario Robleto to join the CCA faculty as the 2013-14 Viola Frey Distinguished Visiting Professor. His time was divided between the undergraduate and graduate programs where he worked with students on self-defined "materialist poetry."

Robleto creates most of his work by using embedded histories in his materials to build narratives of love and time. He often uses audiotape or vinyl to hint at a forgotten history.

In Words Tremble with the Thoughts They Express, one of Robleto's projects, feathers crafted from audiotape containing sounds of now-extinct birds lie in a display case with a vintage inkwell in the center.

The artist transforms charged materials by giving them a new form and function. They come together to create experiences that ask the viewer to confront relationships of the past and their history.

The Golden Record

Robleto visited CCA in February for a lecture hosted by the Graduate Studies Lecture Series that gave further insight on how his pieces function conceptually. The lecture centered on The Golden Record, a project by NASA to encapsulate human existence. The record contained songs from a wide range of cultures and instructions on how to find Earth, among other things.

The narrative Robleto derived from the project illustrated how intense human emotion can be embedded into an object. Included were heart and brain recordings of the project’s creative director, Ann Druyan. 

During the recording, Druyan contemplates life, death, and feelings in their purest form. She thought about everything from her newfound love, project director Carl Sagan, to the dark, hateful sides of humanity.

The team succeeded in packaging the story of humanity as well as the relationships they formed while working at NASA.

Robleto’s reading of the record provided a poetic way to show how his work magnifies the buried past every object contains.

The Value of Visiting Artists

Visiting artists such as Robleto add valuable perspectives because their curriculum is relevant to the work they are currently producing. Their classes become a way for students to interact with the contemporary art world.

As a CCA visiting artist -- in conjunction with Headlands Center for the Arts -- Robleto has blazed a trail of opportunity for other local artists in residence. He has a seasoned ability to simultaneously work as instructor and professional artist. 

While at CCA, he completed a residency at Headlands where he prepared for his next show, Setlists for a Setting Sun, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Robleto is represented by three galleries; Inman Gallery (Houston), Acme (Los Angeles), and Praz Delavellade (Paris).

About the Viola Frey Award

The Viola Frey Distinguished Visiting Professor award was created in 2003 to bring noted artists from around the world to teach as visiting professors at CCA and share their work with the Bay Area community.

Viola Frey was an internationally respected artist and leading figure in contemporary ceramics. She was known for her monumental, intensely colored ceramic sculptures, which explored issues of gender, cultural iconography, and art history.

Along with Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson, Frey shaped and defined contemporary ceramics.

She joined the CCA faculty in 1965 and served as professor and chair of the Ceramics Program through 1999.

Read more about Frey's legacy »