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Return to: Roy Staab

Artist Statement


The Bauhaus based art education of structure, form and materials influence my art and vision. Eventually this thinking lead to large drawings en plein air -- geometric sculptures that embrace the land. The site gives me inspiration and is also the provider of materials. My installations often are on or near water where interactions are created between nature and suspended work, especially when the reflection in the water becomes part of the entire sculptural image.

On the other hand, the site may become the materials for the work itself as when the wet sand is drawn in at low tide; or when water is used to darken the line on the dry sand; or when stones are rearranged in a river so as to alter the surface of the water into geometric shapes. I want to project the ephemeral of life in my artwork and I prefer the forces of nature to enhance and dismantle them as well.

I started to make installations outdoors in 1979 in the South of France, Port Vendre. They were blue plucked chalk line drawings on the white walls of the port, the side of the breakwater and on vacant billboards going out of town. I moved to New York in 1980 continuing making work-on-paper but also making installation sculpture out of dumpster findings from the sweatshops of Soho in my Brooklyn neighborhood by the Navy Yard.

I began to make art out in the water using materials that came from the site. At the time, this was practical for I had no car and I could not transport materials very far. I wanted to open the dialogue speaking about ephemeral and site specific art in nature. I informed the public where my sculptures were and photographed them for gallery exhibition. Then I received the first grant -- from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

As I get older, I realize that making the work and succeeding in challenges that I set for myself is what is important in my art. As a professional I document my pieces, but art is an idea and nothing in life can be held onto. I like the idea of the ephemeral. And I like the work when it is very perfect and interacts in nature in color and reflection.

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