Ro Robertson

Ro Robertson

Ro Robertson

Ro Robertson’s practice spans sculpture, photography, drawing and performance, mediums through which they explore the boundaries of the human body and its environment. Capturing moments, schisms and shifts, their work often explores negative natural spaces to create expanded representations of the figure. Robertson’s ongoing body of work titled Stone (Butch) explores the terrain of the Queer body in the landscape. The term ‘stone butch’ is taken from the lesbian and trans activist Leslie Feinberg’s 1993 novel Stone Butch Blues in which the oppression of lesbian, trans, butch and femme identities is laid bare. Through an interest in terrain, Robertson elucidates upon Feinberg’s metaphoric ‘raincoat layer,’ the layer which protects the body from hostile external forces.

The sculptural articulations of Stone (Butch) are created by plaster casting directly in crevices in natural rock formations at Godrevy Point, St Ives Bay, Cornwall and The Bridestones, West Yorkshire. The ‘sculptural void’ makes physical a negative space created by the power of the sea and air. The sculptures embody a space that is shifting and fluid, reclaiming a natural space for Queer and Butch identity from a history of being deemed ‘against nature’. Robertson sees the natural stone formations as queer forms and changing bodies that are not set in stone, but revealed to us over a long period of time, as fluid structures shaped by water and erosion. Queer bodies which are as fluid as the water that shapes them and as plural as the grains of sand that erode them.

Ro Robertson (they/them) (b. Sunderland 1984) is a contemporary artist based in West Cornwall. They obtained their BA in Fine Art from the Manchester School of Art in 2010. In September 2022, Robertson unveiled a new outdoor sculpture Drench in Regent’s Park, London as part of Frieze Sculpture 2022 curated by Clare Lilley. From June 2021 to April 2022, Robertson’s first public sculpture Stone (Butch) was installed at London’s iconic Gherkin skyscraper, commissioned for the 10th edition of Sculpture in the City. Stone (Butch) is now installed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, where is it part of the permanent collection. Their second public sculpture – commissioned by the City of Sunderland Council as a legacy to the 700 women who worked in Sunderland’s shipyards – will be unveiled later this year. Their work and writing are featured in Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women Since 1945, (London: Hayward Gallery Publishing, 2020) which was published on the occasion of the eponymous Arts Council Collection exhibition. Their work is currently on view in the group exhibition Into Abstraction at the Hepworth Wakefield. Robertson presented Subterrane, their first solo exhibition at Maximillian William, London in October 2021; during the same month, they exhibited in the group exhibition Seen at the Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Cornwall. While Associate Artist during the 2019 Yorkshire Sculpture International, Robertson presented a solo display, Stone (Butch), at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2019 and exhibited in the group exhibition Associated Matter at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, 2019. Works by Robertson are also held in the collection of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and The Hepworth Wakefield and were included in the institution’s group exhibition Vision & Reality: 100 Years of Contemporary Art in Wakefield, 2020. In February 2023 they will participate in the group exhibition TRICKSTER FIGURES: sculpture and the body curated by Jes Fernie at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes.

Download full CV here

SELECTED WORKS

EXHIBITIONS

PRESS

Oct10
ART NEWS
ART NEWS

‘Frieze Sculpture Presents a Bevy of Public Art.’ by Elizabeth Fullerton

October 2022
Sep27
TATE ETC
TATE ETC

‘Dancing in the Rain’ by Ro Robertson.

September 2022
Jul21
FRIEZE
FRIEZE

Frieze Announces Major International Artists at Frieze Sculpture 2022

July 2022
Jul02
WALLPAPER
WALLPAPER

Yorkshire Sculpture Park celebrates ‘Summer of Love’

July 2022
May21
FINANCIAL TIMES
FINANCIAL TIMES

‘The Magic of Stonehenge’ by Aimee Farrell

May 2022
May19
TOAST PODCAST
TOAST PODCAST

Ro Robertson interviewed by Laura Barton

May 2022
Jan15
ART UK
ART UK

Ten artists to follow by Lydia Figes

January 2022
Jan15
HEPWORTH RESEARCH NETWORK
HEPWORTH RESEARCH NETWORK

Terrain of the Queer Body by Rosanne Robertson

January 2022
Jan04
DORIS PRESS
DORIS PRESS

Of rock and concrete by Helen Pheby

January 2022

RELATED CONTENT

Nov24
Ro Robertson: Public Sculpture in Wakefield
Ro Robertson: Public Sculpture in Wakefield

In summer 2023, Wakefield Council will unveil a series of monumental public sculptures in Wakefield city centre by five leading…

November 2022
Oct11
Ro Robertson: Flux and Rust
Ro Robertson: Flux and Rust

Ro Robertson introduces us to their transformatory work Drench at Frieze Sculpture 2022. Inspired by the tidal zone, five forms made…

October 2022
Sep06
Ro Robertson: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Ro Robertson: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Ro Robertson’s Stone (Butch) (2021) into the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s permanent collection.…

September 2022
Jun30
Ro Robertson: Summer of Love
Ro Robertson: Summer of Love

Ro Robertson is included in the open air presentation The Summer of Love at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield. Robertson’s sculpture Stone (butch),…

June 2022
Jun08
Ro Robertson: On Queer Ground
Ro Robertson: On Queer Ground

Ro Robertson will be presenting a new video work in On Queer Ground, a group exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park opening…

June 2022
May26
Ro Robertson: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Acquisition
Ro Robertson: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Acquisition

Ro Robertson’s Stack (body set in motion), 2021 has been acquired by the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich. Stack (Body…

May 2022
Mar15
Ro Robertson: Into Abstraction
Ro Robertson: Into Abstraction

Opening 11 March 2022, Ro Robertson is included in the group exhibition Into Abstraction at The Hepworth Wakefield, a show…

March 2022
Oct12
Rosanne Robertson: Seen
Rosanne Robertson: Seen

Opening 23 October 2021, Rosanne Robertson is included in the group exhibition Seen at The Exchange, Penzance. An Arts Council Collection National…

October 2021
Jul02
Rosanne Robertson: Nocturnal Creatures
Rosanne Robertson: Nocturnal Creatures

For one night only, on Saturday 17 July, Whitechapel Gallery and nearby historic, outdoor and unusual spaces in East London…

July 2021