Paul Oberst

Artist Biography:

Born in 1955 in Owensboro, Kentucky. Paul Oberst grew up in Frankfort and graduated in 1977 with a BA in Studio Arts from Centre College [Danville, Kentucky] with high honors. He worked for 4 years at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (now Cleveland MOCA) with internationally renowned artists, architects, dancers, and musicians. He was also an educator at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art where he worked with high school aged students in an experimental project between the Center and the Cleveland School Board. In 1982, Oberst curated and organized the first Ohio Selections, a show of emerging Ohio contemporary artists. In 1981, he was the project manager for Red Groom's "Welcome to Cleveland" installation working with students from the Cleveland Institute of Art and the artist. From 1982-83, he was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Oberst lived 16 years in the Boston area both as an artist and as a social worker. During this time, he showed with Stux gallery in Boston and NYC. He has made numerous trips to Mexico and the Southwest to study ancient, indigenous cultures and traditions. He has exhibited widely in the New England region and elsewhere in the country in museum and academic settings as well as commercial galleries. In addition, his work has been acquired by numerous private, foundation, corporate, and museum collections.

The subject of Oberst's work is the architectural "temple" (imagined sacred space) reduced to a cube with a passage through and a chimney-like projection on top. Since childhood, he has been fascinated by architecture and architectural models. He has also been interested in ritual spaces, passageways, and paths for procession.

Since 1998, he has been drawing and sculpting the temple form and the imagined interior environment and furnishings. He works with ceramics, wood, metal, found materials/objects and fabric using printing, painting, drawing and sculpting approaches. Oberst has always blurred the lines between media, feeling graphic works can be sculptural, sculptural works can have graphic surfaces, and words can be sculptural, graphic, and poetically multi-dimensional.

Recently, he has returned to an interest in creating site-specific installations. He is currently creating libraries of sculptural elements and minimal paintings on wood panels that interact with the architecture of differing installation sites. These works reach back into personal and cultural time and presents them as aesthetic records to be viewed in an archive of sorts. Concurrent with this work has been the development of illuminations, both a poem and in a sense, a manual that gives context to the ever increasing number of amber glazed photographs mounted to panels that constitute the illumination installation series. A video, Banded Measure, has also been produced that brings greater perspective to the project.

Click the link below to download his CV.

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