Robert Stackhouse is an American artist, whose permanent instillation at the Indianapolis Art Center has become an integral part of art in Indianapolis. Stackhouse’s success is apparent through the many museums and galleries around the United States in which he has been shown.
Robert Stackhouse’s focus as an artist is on passage structures. Several recurring themes in his work are transition, movement, and journeys. He brings these elements together to illustrate the scope of his artistic understanding. His awareness of beauty, functionality, mystery, ritual, craft, and his ability to combine these elements repeatedly with different results, reveals his innate eye for art and his spirit of exploration.
Currently, permanent installations of Robert Stackhouse’s work can be seen in one of the most important artistic institutions in Indianapolis: the Indianapolis Art Center. His work “Confluence” sits majestically in the Art Center’s ARTSPARK. It was commissioned by the Indianapolis Art Center to be a signature piece.
Students and resident artists at the Marilyn K. Glick School of Art and the Cultural Complex at the Indianapolis Art Center find inspiration from this one of a kind piece of art. One hundred tons of limestone, direct from the Hoosier State, have been sculpted to represent ancient stone pillars and to reflect a contemporary idea of life along the White River.
Writer Carol Mickett, Robert Stackhouse’s wife, collaborated with him on the piece as well. For her part, various poems and sayings are carved into the limestone to reflect life in not only Indy, but across Indiana. The specific connection that this piece of artwork has to its location makes it very special for the city, and a feather in the cap of Indianapolis arts.
At the grand reveal of the sculpture, Robert Stackhouse spoke to the singularity of Indianapolis arts and the importance of the Indianapolis Art Center. Even then he realized how special art in Indy could be, saying, “The Indianapolis Art Center is the most dynamic city art center I have encountered in my many years of making art throughout the Americas. The Art Center has a vision greater than itself and its immediate location. It is an institution that appears fearless to try new ideas and become an entrepreneur of the arts.”
Original sculpture work like Robert Stackhouse’s is only brought to the Circle City when the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Broad Ripple Village and the Eli Lilly Endowment Fund lend a hand to Indianapolis nonprofit organizations like the Art Center. The financial support of these heaven sent organizations is helping to connect and enrich Indiana artists and art fans.
Robert Stackhouse’s contribution to this connection is apparent in the way that he designed this permanent instillation for the people of Indiana alone. His knowledge of Indianapolis art dates back to 1980, when he had an exhibitions in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Check out his work in the ARTSPARK the next time you are in Broad Ripple or happen to be walking the Monon Trail. It was, after all, made for you.
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