Stone has been the primary material featured in my work for decades. My artwork contrasts the natural surface and structure of stone with its internal traces of morphology, genesis, and hidden beauty. The abstraction in my artwork reveals the physical and visual phenomena that exist in nature rather than represent fauna and flora. The fact that frozen fluid motion appears as wind in a sail or that light can be captured in crystals of matter that appear to be opaque, reveals something fundamental about the invisible forces of nature that effect us all. Many of the artworks are monolithic yet have compositions relying on multiple relationships of material, form, light, color, texture, balance and movement. With its vocabulary of geometry and composition, my artwork is intended to be a poetic description of the physical realm of nature and our connection to it. 


My artwork encompasses studio work and public environmental installations.  Through public art installations, I seek to energize a place by providing a platform for human interaction as part of the subject matter and elicit something essential in its nature by considering the unseen forces of nature. The artwork evokes curiosity, encourages exploration, and promotes interpersonal interaction. Seating, solar orientation, traffic patterns, material, and language, encourages relationships between people, the sculpture, and the natural physical world. The majority of my public installations are made of stone, which is durable and low maintenance.


                                                                                                                             Rick Rothrock

ARTIST STATEMENT

BIO

I was born into a two-generation family of manufacturing silversmiths, which indelibly marked me with the knowledge of tools, craft, material, and technology.  A fascination for the history of technology and a consciousness of design and the decorative arts led me to study Industrial Design and Technology at Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pa.  At Millersville, I had the distinct opportunity to study with Dr. Paul Eshelman whose work is represented in the collection of the Renwick Museum in Washington, D.C.  While at Millersville, Dr. Eshelman secured me a position as demonstrating blacksmith for the Pennsylvania State Farm Museum in Landis Valley Pennsylvania. Forty years later I find that his teachings reverberate in a very practical way on everything I do.


Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Education, I worked as a certified teacher, developing curriculum for a new school in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. During that time I took post-graduate classes in sculpture and ceramics at the University of Bloomsburg. I also studied sculpture  with artist Athena Tacha at the Blossom Arts Program at Kent State in Ohio. After four years of teaching, I retired and began to study in the Master of Fine Arts program in sculpture at the University of Delaware. During the pursuit of my MFA in sculpture, I specialized in large-scale public collaborative environments.


After receiving my Master of Fine Arts, I worked at the New Castle County Arts Studios in New Castle County, Delaware as a teacher of sculpture and photography. I was also the Community Arts Coordinator for the Art Studios. In that capacity, I developed an artist environmental collaborative called “Artsquad”. The Artsquad, funded under the Community Education Training Act (CETA), was a core group of forty Delaware artists who engaged the public for more than five years. The Artsquad planned and implemented environmental arts experiences at county parks, the Wilmington Zoo, Winterthur Estates, the Delaware Historical Society and Lums Pond State Park. Expanding on this experience, I was inspired by the public response to our “happenings” to travel throughout the eastern and southern United States and study the development of regional art centers. My research and interaction with local economic and governmental groups, and the enthusiasm of the Artsquad members, led to the establishment of the Delaware Center of Contemporary Art. The DCCA is now a viable and successful contemporary arts museum. I served as DCCA’s first acting director and continued to serve on the board of directors for eight years.


During my career, I have completed several major public and private commissions throughout Delaware and the Philadelphia region. These include the "Quill and Cube" monument in Dover, Delaware, "Rendezvous" in Freedom Plaza in Wilmington, “Reflections” at the Can-Do Playground in Alapocas Woods State Park in Delaware, “Twin Obelisks for Brownie” at the Clifford Brown Greenway stop in Wilmington, DE, and “Eastern Portal” in Newburyport,

MA.  With each of these commissions I was actively involved in the site design as well as the conception, creation and installation of the artwork. My artwork is represented in the collections of museums, several corporations and numerous private collectors.


I supplement my career as an artist with various creative applications of my skill and training. I have created exhibits and fountains for many institutions including The Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science, The Franklin Institute of Science and Technology, and The Minnesota Museum of Science and Technology. My credentials in architectural restoration include restoration of the intricate plaster friezes and columns at the Jeckyll Island Club and Sans Souci in Jeckyll Island, Georgia, the brownstone facade of the Wilmington Club, Wilmington, Delaware, and several private residences in the region. I have also designed and installed specialty signage and public installations for the State of Delaware and several corporate and private clients.


The international impact of art is of great interest to me. In 1994, in association with seven other artists, I helped to establish and maintain the international exhibition artist collaboration known as SYNE. In conjunction with the Wilmington Sister Cities Organization, SYNE completed the installation of an exhibit of 66 artists from England, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Sweden and the USA. The exhibit, Parallel Visions, opened November 3rd, 2005 in six separate venues throughout the city of Wilmington and is considered to be the largest exhibition of its kind ever to be assembled in the state of Delaware. This exhibit was also shown in Fulda, Germany, Watford England, and Olevano sul Tusciano, Italy. In 1998 I was one of three Delaware artists chosen to be an official Delaware Ambassador of the Arts by a committee of business and government leaders representing the State of Delaware in a cultural exchange with Xi’an, China.


My work as a sculptor has taken me to Italy and Germany on several occasions including my participation in the Fulda Stone Symposium in 2001. I was one of ten international artists invited to the Borkel en Schaft 10th International Sculpture Symposium in the Netherlands in 2008.  In 2010, I was one of five artists invited to be in the Marble Carving Symposium in Vermont, USA. As a professional artist, in 2009 I received the Christi Award for Outstanding Achievement as an Artist given by the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington, DE.  In 2011, the Delaware Division of the Arts honored me with the Master Fellowship.


A career in art has enabled me to fully appreciate the importance of art as a beneficial force in the world. It has enriched my life with hope, fellowship, wisdom and a strong positive vision. My experience, talent and skills continue to empower me to engage others as a positive  force through art.