Robin Venable

Leave It Up

Robin Venable, “Leave It Up” (2010), acrylic on canvas, D 30 in.

Artist Biography

Venable graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University in 2009.

Artist Statement

In the wake of the vacuum created by postmodernism, there is a hunger for spiritual renaissance. Human souls crave inclusion rather than exclusion, so I seduce the viewers with pattern and light in the hopes of recreating my own religious revelations for them. I place figures in ornate patterns from another time. Almost lost in the complicated surfaces, the figures work to emerge and take full form. Similar to the decorations in a precious reliquary, the portals of a cathedral, or an illuminated manuscript, the patterns point to our attempt to make sense of life’s complexity. Dark and light battle over the souls of the figures as the figures become more integrated into their rich and complex spiritual history. This history is fully realized in the misty deposits of pattern and imagery. The semi-transparent layers recall and represent the old and the new, the past and the future, the excellent and the penitent – because that is what makes a spiritual experience the richest and most precious.

My paintings and drawings grow out of the need to express my own spiritual journey. I allow myself to be heavily influenced by religious icons and paintings of dramatic ecstasy and turmoil so that I know what is most effective to the viewer. My grandfather’s religious expression is also an important influence on my work. Towards the end of his life he created huge panels that he called The Bible Panorama. On these panels were illustrations and texts of the end times as described in the Book of Revelation. His fervor and dedication to recreating all the fantastic imagery found in that book are inspirational to me because he was so determined to prove the absolute importance of it all. The figures cry out to their Lord – some in rapture and others in eternal unrest.


Leave it Up is currently on display in the Westcott Offices of the President and Provost.