Robert Gigliotti

Robert E Gigliotti was born in Utah in 1947 as the second of 5 children. His father was Italian and his mother was Scot/Irish from the deep south. This was an interesting cultural mix for a boy growing up in a mountain state. He went to parochial school where the only path was college prep. In 1965 he headed off to the University of San Francisco for undergraduate studies, not having a clue what to take. After changing his major several times Robert ended up with a BA in sociology. What do you do with a degree in sociology? You go to graduate school. So Robert drifted off to the University of Victoria to work on a masters degree. Deep inside he “knew” that he wanted to create but didn’t know what or how. Somehow Robert latched onto photography and decided to quit grad school in favor of art school. He went to Oregon State University to study photography and, with great trepidation, took a bronze sculpture class as an elective. He fell in love with it. He had found his path to creativity. The following year Robert transferred to the University of Oregon where, in 1976, he earned a masters degree in art education. He has been sculpting ever since and loves to create figurative bronzes with symbolic twists and turns. His art derives a lot of inspiration from mythology and various spiritual paths. He refers to some of his newest work as “visual koan,” borrowing a word from Zen practice.

I approach sculpture from two different perspectives. First, I try to
make each piece interesting on a purely visual level. Secondly, I
attempt to use symbolism from the physical world, mythology and
spiritual practices to challenge the viewer’s paradigms about our
relationship to each other, to our environment and to the universe. In
my opinion, the unveiling of the true Self and, consequently, nondual
Spirit is the ultimate goal of art. You can substitute the word God, Tao,
or whatever, for Spirit but it’s basically about the realization that “All is
One” that I’m getting at. Nondual spiritual practices suggest that any
separation we perceive between ourselves and others or any part of
the physical or spiritual realms is an illusion. I think that this is
intuitively what artists are doing when they create art. It represents an
attempt to go from the finite self to the timeless Self. This type of art
is sometimes called transpersonal art. It occurred to me recently that
what I am attempting could be called “visual koan”. The intent of a
written koan is to instill the understanding that the separation between
subject and object is an illusion. Some of my artwork is a visual
attempt at this type of practice. Purely representational art can expand
ones consciousness as well, if it captures a timeless moment because
Spirit itself is timeless; meaning not time everlasting but beyond time.
I believe that any art that disarms you, makes you smile, or makes
you think, is successful. At the very least, most artists hope for an
emotional response to their work; I love it, I hate it, it makes me
feel…etc. It’s not uncommon, however, for two viewers to get radically
different impressions of a work. I hope my work will inspire you in
some way.

You can view Robert Gigliotti’s current art in the Parklane Gallery Online Store.