Jeff Robinson enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute in 1979 to study sculpture. “It was the materials (clay, the wax and bronze) that initially drew me in. I worked hard to develop the skills to create something tangible. Something original and hopefully something beautiful.”
After a decade of work in Kansas City, Robinson was ready to move back east. In 1992, he was living in New York City and painting at a prodigious rate. In the words of critic Lee Graham, his work was “simultaneously rough hewn and delicately handled.” Figures took a backseat to flags and flag iconography (of his own invention). The works were adulations of symbols. Odes on objects. Handled in the manner of building up a canvas in layers of paint and then coaxing an image from this rich surface the work took on an almost sculptural quality. To add to the overt physicality, he would frequently cut and reassemble the canvas as he proceeded to its conclusion.
After the rigors of academia, Robinson began to shift his focus from sculpture to painting. “The change in medium suited me. Painting allowed me to get to more ideas quicker.” He stayed in Kansas City and partook of its burgeoning art scene like the Random Ranch and Left Bank galleries. From conventional subject matter came unconventional work. “Deconstructed figures. I liked to take things apart and put them back together again a little differently.”