Bob Dilworth’s Another Place can be framed within the constructs of Remembrance, Resilience, Restoration, and Rest. The current body of work illuminates the documentation of close relations and friends within lushly patterned spaces and foliaged landscapes.
In Dilworth’s apt hand, painting is a way of creating the most precious remembrance of humankind. The migration of Black families from a rural town in southern Virginia to larger metropolises is woven into many of the narratives in the work. Self Portrait and Venus look both forward and backward in the manner of a quantum swing, the multiple figures intrinsically tied together — one body, one journey over time. The strength and resilience of these figures shows the aging body in all its glory. As an act of restoration, Dilworth uses household fabrics, given to him by relatives and friends, within the painted surface. The preservation of material culture and embedded familiarity in an Afrocentric decor documents the patterns and decorations specific to a time and place in Dilworth’s life. And, in perhaps the most intimate type of portraiture, Margaret and Blue allow us to see the figure resting versus presenting. In repose, the artist’s loved ones carve out a special place to simply rest, dream, and think.
Bob Dilworth has been collectively painting and creating for over 55 years. Distance plays a distinct role in his work, both physically and mentally. Dilworth traveled, at age 17, to RISD from his rural upbringing in small town Lawrenceville, Virginia located 58 miles south of Richmond. Dilworth went on to receive his MFA in Painting from the Art Institute of Chicago - stellar achievements made more impressive considering the journey.
Bob Dilworth is Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History, the University of Rhode Island. Dilworth received his MFA (1976) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BFA (1973) from the Rhode Island School of Design. Residencies include Anderson Ranch Art Center, CO; and the African American Master Artist in Residence Program (AAMARP), Northeastern University, Boston, MA; among many others. His work is held in numerous collections including the RISD Museum, Providence, RI; Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL; The Barnett-Aden Gallery Collection, Washington, DC; and the National Gallery of Art for the Corcoran Collection, Washington DC.