She writes: “I was inspired by the absurd desire to embed antique sofas in thousands of pounds of dry-stacked stone in such a way that the furniture would seem like a fossil within a stone road-cut or like an archaic funerary monument extruded from the earth. Although we like to imagine that cultural artifacts, such as furniture and art, exist free of time and decay, the material conditions of the world inevitably recoup them.”
Synergizing conceptual and aesthetic concerns, her juxtapositions of fragile furnishings against stark masses of layered stone call to mind the disparate ways in which we view temporality as regards objects of human and organic origins. They center the viewer’s experience on the visceral impact of collided opposites: the fabricated pressed between the organic, the inviting caught in the threatening, and the ephemeral embedded within the enduring. Through these assemblages of river rocks, fabricated steel, and soft upholstery, Roberge asks her viewers both to abstract time and to sense its immediacy.
Roberge occasionally pares her co mpositions down to diminutive proportions in order to invite the attention demanded by work of a miniature scale. Many of these smaller works make references to such well known earlier artists as Donald Judd and Meret Oppenheim, and thus probe the complicated issues of originality and authorship.Her miniatures commonly tend toward such slenderness that balance is underscored as a central component in their visual drama. Here, solitary objects (as diverse as chairs, lamps, and even pianos) crowning divs of sediment appear to hover over a vast abyss.
Roberge is also known to create sculptures that engage dynamically with exterior environments. Commonly, these invert the hierarchy of objects established in her larger stacks. In Chaise Gabion, 1,350 pounds of river rocks are compressed into the shape of a chaise lounge by surro unding computer-designed matrices of waterjet cut stainless steel. Though her other sculptures frequently subvert the conception that manufactured objects may forever dominate our landscapes, these works explore an alternative possibility.
Celeste Roberge has exhibited extensively in solo exhibitions as well as important group shows. Her work is held in such collections as the Portland Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, and Emory University. Widely acclaimed, Roberge has been awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, twice received the Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, earned a Bunting Fellowship to the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University,and holds a Research Foundation Professorship at the University of Florida.
1986 MFA,Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia
1979 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
1979 BFA, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME
Selected One Person Exhibitions
2017 Drawing with Seaweed., PhoPa Gallery,Portland, ME
2014 Ocean Floors., Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL
2014 Cyanotype Project. In collaboration with the Undergraduate Research Initiative, University of South Florida, St. Pete and with Bleu Acier, Inc., Tampa, FL
2010 Granite Sofa installed in the Farnsworth Art Museum lobby, Rockland, ME
2007 Miniature Stacks installed Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harris House, New Smyrna Beach, FL
2006 Celeste Roberge, Aucocisco Gallery,Portland, ME
2003 Drawings and Small Sculpture, June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME
2003 Stacks for Home & Office, A.V.C. Contemporary Arts Gallery, New York, NY
2002 Sitting Room – Outdoor Sculpture Installation, Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Largo, FL
2002 QuarryFarnsworth Museum of Art, Rockland, ME
2000 Outdoor Sculpture Commission, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME
1998 STACKS, Adair Margo Gallery, El Paso, TX
1997 STACKS, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL
1996 Celeste Roberge: Sculpture, Nations Bank Plaza, Org.: Florida Center for Contemporary Art, Tampa, FL
1995 Geographies. Geologies. Anatomies.,Maine Coast Artists, Rockport, ME
1993 The Mind is a Muscle, Farnsworth Museum of Art, Rockland, ME
1991 Views of the Head from Behind, Dean Velentgas Gallery, Portland, ME
1989 Northern Archives: Views from the Hill, one person exhibition in two spaces: Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME
1989 Northern Archives, Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, Cambridge,MA
1988 Northern Archives, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia
1986 Geographies, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax,Nova Scotia
Selected Group Exhibitions
2010 Biennial Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME
2010 Mill-ennial, Saco Museum, Saco, Maine and North Dam Mill, Biddeford,ME
2007 Modern Dimensions: Contemporary American Sculpture, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM
2006 Pink Days/Azure Nights, Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA
2005 Touchstones, </Blum Gallery, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
2005 South X East, Schmidt Center Gallery, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
2005 Five Florida Sculptors, The New Gallery,University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
2004 Home, d.u.m.b.o. art center (dac), Brooklyn,NY
2003 Sculpture Garden Invitational,University of New England, Portland, ME
2003 Portland Museum of Art Biennial, University Portland Museum of Art, Portland,ME
2003 The Chairs Project,Emory University, Atlanta, GA
2002 Maine Coast Artists 50thAnniversary Exhibition, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME
2001 Material and Metaphor, Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, Jacksonville, FL
2000 International Stone Sculptors Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany
2000 Six artists from six continents invited to work at the off-site quarry project: Steinzeichen Steinbergen, Steinbergen, Germany
1999 On the Ball: the Sphere in Contemporary Sculpture, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
Professional Experience, Residencies, Grants
Associate Professor of Sculpture at the School of Art and Art History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Residency at SIM House in Reykjavik, Iceland,2007.
Sponsors: The Assoc. of Icelandic Visual Artists and the Reykjavik Art Museum, 2007.
Research Foundation Grant, University of Florida,2004-2007.
Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, 2006.
Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, 1999
The Pollock/Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, NY, 1998.
The Pollock/Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, NY, 1991.
Bunting Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, 1988-1989