James Robie

Born James Paul Wroblewski 

Buffalo, NY, 1945

Art Historian Gail Scott writing in the 2011 “My Life as Art” retrospective exhibition catalog in 2011 wrote:

“What is extraordinary about Robie is the ethos of continually moving forward on this journey, which is his life, his work, his art. From his earliest days as a student in the 1960s and at every later stage of his career he embraced experimentation. Robie’s practice as an artist involves playing with his materials and tools in order to discover how, as he describes, “to make images in unfamiliar ways.”

Although written a decade ago, this philosophy about making art still applies to him today. 

Educated as a painter, Robie studied with Harvey Breverman at the State University of New York at Buffalo (formally the Albright art school) and later with Richard Diebenkorn at UCLA. It was there he was awarded a Summer Fellowship to the Yale Art and Music program in Norfolk, CT where he studied with Knox Martin, Bernard Chaet and met visiting painters Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Cleve Gray, Ilya Bolotowskiy, photographer Walker Evens and critic Clement Greenberg. Later he did his graduate work at Yale University where he studied with painters Lester Johnson, Al Held and Jack Tworkof graduating with BFA and MFA degrees in 1970.

While still at Yale, Robie introduced Ken Tyler, one of the founders of Gemini GEL, the printmaking workshop in Los Angeles to Tomkins Tooling, the company where he worked in the 60s as an apprentice wood pattern maker while attending UCLA. This was instrumental in establishing a multiples department at Gemini GEL and where Robie worked after graduation. It was there he worked on projects with artists Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein among others.

He got his initial start in Graphic Design in the early 70s first working for the designer John Coy and later for art director Maurice Yanez of the Robert Myles Runyon office. Five years later he started his own company, James Robie Design Associates in 1978. During these past 43 years he has worked with a variety of clients, including over 250 projects for the 1984 Olympic games and corporate design for Fortune 500 companies including Northrop Grumman, Teledyne and Atlantic Richfield, Foundations and Institutions including the The Getty Center, Foundation for the Junior Blind and the LA84 Foundation.

 

His work has appeared in numerous design books including CA, Print, Abitare, Graphic Design: Los Angeles and Hot California Designers, and Design USA published by Graphis. From 1992-1997 He was a design instructor at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

It might be said that he has led two separate lives, one as a graphic designer and one as a fine artist but I think it would be more accurate to say that he has lived one life as a complete artist forever pursuing creative solutions in the visual arts. These pursuits have led to a large diverse body of work that encompasses paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and graphics. This body of work that now spans over 5 decades is a testament to his commitment to creating a vision that is both exciting and timeless.

James Robie lives and works in Ojai, CA

EDUCATION

1963-65

State University of New York at Buffalo

(Formally the Albright-Knox Art School)

1966-68

University of California at Los Angeles

(Studied with Richard Diebenkorn)

1967

Yale Fellowship

(Norfolk School of Art & Music, Norfolk, Connecticut)

1968-70

Yale University Graduate School of Art and Architecture

(Studied with Lester Johnson, Al Held and Jack Tworkoff)

Graduated BFA and MFA

AWARDS

1963

Full Art Scholarship (SUNY at Buffalo)

1966

Orselli Award (UCLA)

1967

Yale Fellowship (Norfolk School of Art & Music

1968-69

Elizabeth Canfield Hicks Memorial Scholarship (Yale University)

EXHIBITIONS

2018

ANCIENT | FUTURE - One Man Show  

Thomas Paul Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA

2018

Intersecting Formations - Group Show

Museum Outdoor Arts, Englewood CO

2011

Linear Concepts and Other influences - Recent Paintings 

Gallery KM, Santa Monica

2011

My Life as Art - 40 Years of Fine Art and Graphic Design  

Cal State University Northridge Gallery, Los Angeles

2005

Home and Away - (Photographs) 

Oliver Wolcott Gallery, Litchfield, Connecticut

2004

The Recent Past - (Photographs) 

C. Peter Miller Gallery, Woodbury, Connecticut

2002

One Man Show - (Photographs) 

William Pitt Gallery, Washington Depot, Connecticut

1999

One Man Show (Paintings + Sculptures) 

Daniel Saxon Gallery, Los Angeles

1998

National Academy Museum 173rd Annual Juried Exhibition, NYC

1990

Group Show (Sculpture) 

Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles

1976

One Man Show (Paintings) 

Space Gallery, Los Angeles

1973

One Man Show (Paintings) 

John Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

1972

One Man Show (Paintings) 

Gerard John Hayes Gallery, Los Angeles

1971

Group Drawing Show 

Gerard John Hayes Gallery, Los Angeles

1970

Group Show 

Molly Barnes Gallery, Los Angeles

1970

"Contemporary Romantics"

Graham Gallery, NYC