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Mr. Marc Robarge: sculpting nature

Mr. Marc Robarge holds a grand opening for his art exhibit

Ms.+Gurgo+%28left%29+and+Mr.+Robarge+%28right%29+pose+for+a+photo+with+black+frames.+Mr.+Robarge+is+not+only+an+art+teacher+at+Mason%2C+but+also+a+talented+artist+himself.+His+art+show+is+set+to+debut+Saturday%2C+September+22%2C+2018.
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Mr. Marc Robarge: sculpting nature

Ms. Gurgo (left) and Mr. Robarge (right) pose for a photo with black frames. Mr. Robarge is not only an art teacher at Mason, but also a talented artist himself. His art show is set to debut Saturday, September 22, 2018.

Ms. Gurgo (left) and Mr. Robarge (right) pose for a photo with black frames. Mr. Robarge is not only an art teacher at Mason, but also a talented artist himself. His art show is set to debut Saturday, September 22, 2018.

Ms. Gurgo (left) and Mr. Robarge (right) pose for a photo with black frames. Mr. Robarge is not only an art teacher at Mason, but also a talented artist himself. His art show is set to debut Saturday, September 22, 2018.

Ms. Gurgo (left) and Mr. Robarge (right) pose for a photo with black frames. Mr. Robarge is not only an art teacher at Mason, but also a talented artist himself. His art show is set to debut Saturday, September 22, 2018.

Maeve Keating, Staff Reporter

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“Better, but try to get a bit of a tighter spiral, maybe by using just your fingers,” Mr. Marc Robarge told me.

I sighed, putting down my pliers and lifting my aching, browned fingers to the 17th wire leaf form I had made for my beloved art teacher this morning. These paper leaves were coming along beautifully, but today was my turn to bend the stubborn greasy wires into shapes that would hold their form.

This is how longtime Mason art teacher Mr. Robarge, a few other IB art students, and I spent every Wednesday morning during the summer of 2018: sitting in George Mason’s art room, talking, laughing, and making mushrooms out of clay, all in preparation for Mr. Robarge’s personal art exhibit. And now it is finally here.

This Saturday, September 22 from 6-8 p.m., our very own Mr. Robarge will be opening his personal multimedia exhibit at the Fred Schnider Art Gallery.

Mr. Marc Robarge has been the George Mason IB Visual Arts teacher for thirteen years, and has been an active artist for 30 years. He specializes in multimedia sculptures, using materials like wood, ceramic, and plaster and loves three-dimensional work because he “enjoys working with materials in space.” Having been a nature lover his whole life, it was only natural that he created an exhibit that “demonstrated the intersection between nature and humanity.” His new exhibit, The Nature of Things, is a four piece set of multimedia sculptures which use both natural materials like branches found on the ground, and man-made materials such as heavy duty wire. Each piece is meant to look so natural that one can barely distinguish whether it is organic or artificial, and the exhibit does exactly that; everything looks like something you recognize but cannot place a finger on, similar to deja vu.

Featured Art by Mr. Marc Robarge

Mr. Robarge was inspired to blur the lines between the natural and created for the first time at a residency at the University of Virginia in the summer of 2016. The program consisted of both artists and scientists exploring the forest together and bringing new perspectives to one another.

“Some of the scientists would collect things to study, and I thought ‘as an artist, what could I do?’ I figured that the opposite of collecting is offering, so why not add to the forest?” said Mr. Robarge.

Later in the residency Mr. Robarge began to sculpt small mushrooms and other forms out of clay, and was thrilled by his peers’ response. “After seeing [my work], people began to look at the forest differently! I had changed the scientists perception of nature, and they had changed mine,” said Mr. Robarge. This is how he grew to realize the connection between humanity and nature, and an artistic idea was born.

This idea has grown into a reality and this reality will be debuted this weekend at the grand opening of Mr. Robarge’s exhibit. If you want to support not only an amazing art show but an amazing artist, come to Fred Schnider Art gallery at 888 Quincy Street in Arlington any time between 6-8 PM this Saturday.

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Mr. Marc Robarge: sculpting nature