Playing By His Own Rules
By Taryn Plumb
Robert Saunders has never found amusement in other people’s games.
As a kid, for example, he would sit down to Chinese checkers with his grandmother, and although he recalls “hating it,” he would keep playing, just following his own private imaginary strategy. Similarly, in lieu of baseball – the traditional pastime of many boys – he concocted a way to run the bases, score and strike out simply by rolling four dice.
That flouting of conformity and adherence to his own rules translates into his large body of abstract artwork, composed of installations and drawings that the Gardiner, Maine artist refers to as “visual poetry.”
His pieces are composites of intersecting clean lines, crisp shapes, stray numbers and
letters, as well as assemblages of various found items. The effect – once the eyes
adjust to the mélange – is a unique sort of symmetry, a mode of communication and
a game all of his own making.