Robyn Grove is an Australian contemporary figurative artist, based in Melbourne, and currently working out of the Juddy Roller Studios. Her current body of work displays a commitment to an accurate and representational style of portraiture, where both the physical and intimate character of her subjects are captured with great sensitivity.
Art has always been Robyn's focus, both as a creator and as viewer. She's been drawing and painting for most of her life; there's always been an easel in the house, a sketchbook full of life drawings and anatomical studies, and a palette dotted with paint. This artistic mindset carried through to Robyn's work in design and marketing, which in turn gave her an exceptional eye for detail, proportions and perspective. After some deliberation, Robyn's design and marketing career of 20 years was put aside to pursue her art full time.
Robyn studied both Visual Arts and Fine Art at a number of institutions; including Monash and Sydney Universities, RMIT and The Julian Ashton Art School where she held the inaugural William Dobell Scholarship. Maintaining The School's Atelier perspective that drawing and anatomical study is a critical aspect of painting, Robyn is a regular at many of Melbourne's vibrantly themed life drawing groups; including: Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Covert Characters and Gay Life Drawing, and also gets to traditional life drawing sessions whenever possible.
Not happy to simply capture the appearance of her sitters, Robyn aims to look beyond the skin and convey their innermost personality. Fundamental to achieving this is getting to know her subjects: an understanding of their interests, outlook on life, careers, motivations and past-times. A fascination with the human anatomy and psyche also breathe life into her works. The result is pieces that captivate and intrigue both her sitters and audiences alike.
For her 2018 solo show "Persona" at Off The Kerb gallery, Robyn created a series of intimate portraits capturing Melbourne-based performers; including burlesque, dance, voice, magic, sideshow, drag and cabaret. She asked the question: "who are these performers when they step off the stage, strip off the elaborate costumes, the hair and makeup, and they move away from the lights?" To that end, she attended many public performances by her sitters as a baseline for their public personas, then researched each further through life drawings, one-on-one catch-ups and photoshoots. Openness and trust were established in order to present the private people who live behind the veils of their public lives.
Studio work is usually oil paintings on wood panels, canvases or hand-made paper. These surfaces impart a unique character to Robyn's artwork, as she often utilises the elements of the substrates, such as wood grain or the coloured and graphic paper pulp, as integral visual elements.
In April 2019, Robyn joined an exciting line up of local and international artists at Australia's largest annual street art event, "Wall to Wall Festival" at Benalla, north-eastern Victoria. Her piece "Down the Rabbit Hole" sits underneath the Benalla library, adding a literary themed mural to the rich and diverse collection of art that adorns this mural town.
For information and to download the town map with mural locations, visit the festival website: www.walltowallfestival.com/
Robyn's street murals are typically painted with acrylic house paint, yet maintain the same realism style as her studio works.Alice mural progress image by @nicasa