HABITATS: Robert Larson



May 23 – July 7, 2013



Campfire Gallery is proud to present “Habitats” featuring new mixed-media works by Robert Larson with a reception for the artist on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 6 p.m.

Sifting through what most people see as trash, Larson brings a second life to his materials, one rich in texture and sun-bleached color. Scavenging urban and industrial environments, he will typically select an area and walk for hours or sometimes days. For Larson, process and practice are inextricable and the journey becomes the destination.

Creating work from discarded consumer materials such as cigarette packs, gum wrappers, matchbooks and lottery tickets, his canvases become poignant reminders of how habits impact our habitats, but more importantly our potential for reinvention.

Artist Statement

Walking through cities collecting discarded materials is the fundamental process behind my work. I glean pigment from the urban landscape in search of color and texture—artifacts rich in time, history and experience. The resulting accumulation of post-consumer packaging records myriad human activities—a telling mix of pleasures, habits and addictions, including my own obsessive scavenging and appropriating.

It is after these items have been discarded that an exciting transformation begins. Their once identical and uniform surfaces begin to fade and abrade with exposure to the elements—turning them from homogeneity into infinite variety. From this collision of man-made materials and the forces of nature a dynamic palette of weathered hues, tones and textures is inadvertently created.

My work, while full of topical documentary evidence, explores most singularly the power of transformation—physically and perceptually. Initially the compositions appear to reside comfortably within the hermetic, self-referential tradition of minimalist abstraction. But upon discovering the true nature of the source material a tension is revealed between transcending inherent content and examining the nuanced relationships between the urban landscape, consumerism and cultural identity.

Robert Larson 2013


Walking, gathering and gleaning: these primal activities are at the core of Robert Larson’s peripatetic explorations and gritty appropriations in the urban landscape. For more than 20 years the Northern California artist has used the most mundane, discarded and forgotten materials to create work that addresses fundamental concerns, both current and universal. Presently employing photography and video as another means to “collect” raw material, Larson’s work continues to evolve as an intimate dialogue with the urban landscape.