ROBERT LANGE STUDIOS
I am a storyteller. I used the to tell of the stories of others life’s that of my mother and her mothers mother. I am a Delaware/Cherokee Native American; I grew up hearing many stories from my mother. I was drawn to those of shape shifters with the idea of a trickster who wears a mask to hide their identity, birds as messengers, and owls as bearers of tragic news. These stories also now run through most of my work in the form of animals with human characteristics, masks of birds and other animals. I anthropomorphize the animals and birds, giving one the eyes of a tired old woman, and another the hands of a strong man holding the branch on which they perch.
Then I had my son and daughter and now those stories have taken on a whole new meaning. I tell stories of my own family intertwined with that of my past and with the past of my mother’s family. I see the world in a new way now that I have children. I feel I am their guides and their guardians. I see the secrets that are whispered in the schoolyard from one child to another and the weight that can carries, from innocent little giggle to that which will shadow ones spirit for a lifetime. I want to sculpt emotions, emotions that you can put on like a skin and breath in moment frozen in time. I want you to feel another’s life, for just that moment to see we are all one below that surface, that surface of skin no matter the color the shape or origin.
My figures serve as my storytellers in the world, telling stories of the sacred and the precious, capturing moments of our day, our vulnerabilities, and our strengths. They are the quiet echoes of life’s delicate balance, telling of the fragility in both life and their own form; how far one can reach, which step may be too many. The masks some of the figures wear are layered with meaning from creatures in nature to a child’s imagined world. As children, we make and wear masks to be anything we want or need to be and we could do anything in them, from being a super hero to a bird in flight. As adults, the layers and meaning deepen and grow and these masks are a way to represent the different personas that we need or desire to be in life. They become an identity that one can live through or hide behind in our roles – I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a wife, a mother, artist, and Indian.
In my birds you see where the bird is shape shifting and he is stuck between the two worlds trying to choose, the world of man or the world of the spirit. He has the hands and eyes of mankind but still in bird form.” This is where I must confess I too have a foot stuck in two worlds trying to decide which one to live in. The figures I cast in my studio with the traditional method of lost wax casting in combination with mixed media elements. The figures are one of a kind and singular in edition; no two are alike.
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