The Palm at the End of the Parking Lot, 1995
annealed hammered aluminum, stainless steel aluminum, dead walnut tree
204 x 96 x 84 inches (126 inch circumference)
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission, with funds from the Mark Twain Laumeier Endowment Fund

Robert Lobe has described his sculptures as “involving an interrupted, sacrificed Nature that is not just borrowed, but violated.” His works are created in nature as sculptural echoes of natural form, usually rocks or trees. The signature process Lobe uses is an adaptation of repoussé, an ancient technique in which metal is hammered to create designs or shapes. The fusion of natural beauty and metal handiwork show the wildly disorganized aspect of nature, rather than the tranquil one presented in a park setting.

Lobe’s The Palm at the End of the Parking Lot, 1995, is a battered, aluminum-encased walnut trunk that exemplifies his focus on the violence of "nature and culture." The aura of the sculpture obliterates the formal distinction between nature and technology by imposing a distressed layer of armor plate around the tree’s old contours. The punch marks left by the pneumatic hammer that formed the aluminum become a matrix of penny-size scars through which Lobe has preserved and mimicked the tree’s original, textural surface. Are technological interventions strong enough to reverse the ravages technology has already visited upon the landscape? Lobe’s answer to this question remains enigmatic.

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Robert Lobe was born in Detroit in 1945. He earned his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1967. Lobe received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1979 and 1984 and an award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2001. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The White House, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Lobe's works are in numerous collections, including the Brooklyn Museum; the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Mihama-cho International Outdoor Sculpture Garden, Japan; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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