Robert Berry, whose art background includes years of custom stainless
steel fabrication, workshops and association memberships with the
International Sculpture Society and the Kansas City Artist's Coalition,
has a private studio in south metro Kansas City. Berry is formally
trained in welding, but is constantly deviating from the industrial
curriculum toward organic fabrication.
Shape and dimension are two identifiable factors in each of Berry's
works. As a lifelong inventor and fabricator, he has taken the cold
media of steel and transformed it into geometric, lifelike shapes.
Drawing from the cubist form of Picasso and the abstract design of David
Smith, Berry has developed a unique style of his own by blending
industrial and biomorphic forms in compatible harmony. Berry combines
surreal, yet contemporary design and precise craftsmanship to create
unique pieces. In addition, he incorporates his knowledge of physics and
engineering along with his zeal for invention to create, modify and
perfect each design, all the while keeping the process spontaneous.
Using standard structural shapes, he transforms mild and stainless
steel into industrial and organic themes. Stainless steel, an alloy of
metals including chromium and nickel, is Berry's medium of choice for
outdoor sculptor due to its longevity. From graphing designs on paper to
welding sheets of metal in harmony, Berry believes all art is a message,
a story, and a person's desire to make an idea, emotion or conviction
known. Berry is drawn to the interplay between solid and void. The
selection of natural forms, the assembly of the forms in relation to
each other and the voids are characteristics of Berry's work that add
dimension and elicit a response from the view. Berry's pieces range from
6" to over 32' and vary from abstract wall hangings to practical coffee
tables in recognizable shapes.
Berry's sculptures begin with drawings of pleasing shapes. These
shapes may come from nature, industry, or childhood memories.
Fabrication begins with central shapes either found or cut from steel
with a plasma cutter. If a piece is not cut precisely, it is saved for
future use, as often the mistake is more valuable than the created
shape. Once the shapes are cut, then some grinding is done. Assembly of
the pieces is accomplished with an arc welder. Sometimes pieces go
together by chance better than what is down on paper. Once the final
sculpture is assembled, there is more grinding and smoothing. If mild
steel is used for an outdoor sculpture, it is powder coated, a patina
far superior to paint.
Due to the three-dimensional nature of most of Berry's art, it
creates a confrontation between the sculpture and the viewer. Thus, the
viewer is forced to make a judgement about the piece because it is right
there. Berry believes his sculpture convey a message and evoke emotion.
The pleasure of welding and creating is hard to comprehend. The
fusion of pieces with heat and gases is magical. The daily burns and
dust are easily overlooked when one sees the results in final form.
ANVIL ART STUDIO