Chris Roberson told me that his work is about the idea of play.
"They're monuments to play, and monuments to the death of play," he says.
Chris shares his studio space with Emily Clayton, who is his wife. Their work seems to reference each other, but not directly. It's more like they speak the same language. I met both of them at last June's open studios in the Chestnut Square building (I still love Chris' "Blanket for Frances Bean").
Chris uses a basketball as a ready-made cast, filling it with concrete and then ripping the rubber off. It has none of the properties of the original ball but still kind of looks exactly like a worn-out basketball that you'd see forgotten in a driveway somewhere. In the middle of his studio three of these balls hang from chains, heavy like pendulums. It's a very industrial piece, but Chris is quick to explain that the bright yellow chains are the kinds used in playground swing sets — and maybe they are industrial, but he presents the association without comment, like who are we to judge what qualities in our childhoods are worth replicating?
Chris hasn't shown any of this work in Nashville yet, and it's a shame. I think his work would be great in Cheekwood's Temporary Contemporary space, or maybe in Seed Space downstairs.
I took some photographs of his studio while I was there. Check them out after the jump.