Robert Jinkins

Growing up on a farm that has been in my family since 1849, I gained an admiration and reverence for the land that so many of my family members have worked. Like ghosts or spirits that walk the place, monument-like markers exist signifying the actions and lives of those who came before me: a tractor may remain parked as it has been for years since the last time it was driven; a broken crock full of metal now slowly sinks into the earth under years of maple leaves falling from the massive trees that my grandfather planted when he was six year old. A winterkilled field of grass frosted with a light snow cracks like eggshells under my rubber barn boots and a dead cow dies in a pasture to be consumed by coyotes. I find stories on my family’s farm and record, document and preserve them almost obsessively in my art.

The combination and juxtaposition of Regionalism, with its emphasis upon a particular rural venue and paradoxical mystery of Surrealism, forms the aesthetic precedent that is the basis of my artwork. I enjoy painting every blade of grass while allowing a disconcerting ambiguity to lurk below the surface in order to encourage viewers into a deeper dialogue with the paintings. I strive to find the sublime in the mundane that permeates each life to preserve and portray that for the future. The entire world is portrayed within each individual line of graphite or stroke of acrylic ink from which my drawings and paintings are woven.

Tangential to my 2-D work is an exploration of other media areas and modes of creative exploration. I have dabbled in photography, latex casting, printmaking(primarily woodbock and lithography), site installation, painting using firearms including shooting spray installation, drawing with gunpowder, poetry, have even used a piece of roadkill as a paintbrush. Labels on art are often simplistic ways of dividing media areas and pigeonholing an artist. As artists we should use empathy and an open mind to explore other media and investigate this thing we call art.

“Artists and scientists are both asking questions about the world, they’re just doing it in different ways”
Alex Braidwood
Director, Iowa Lakeside Lab Artists-in-Residence Program
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