The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Robin Mandel

Associate Professor

Robin Mandel

(413) 545-4477

Personal Website

Studio Arts Building 255

"A famous scientist once said: 'all motion is relative.' Put another way, motion is relation. Motion creates a relationship between two or more entities, and thereby a story. In my sculpture, videos, and installations, motion (or implied motion) is the catalyst for narrative. The objects and gestures that appear in my work – teacups, firewood, pouring a glass of water, holding one's breath – are familiar, near at hand. I use what you know to tell a story you don't.

"I am interested in forces arrayed in balance or opposition, and in the metaphorical potential of those arrangements: unity and harmony, but also deadlock and stasis. Through these oppositions I explore visual manifestations of paradox: light and darkness, motion and stillness, materiality and immateriality coexisting within the same object or image. I create situations where seeing and knowing come together at a sharp edge; the experience of the work balances on that edge.

"To hold two opposing ideas in mind at once is a valuable and powerful act. It enables empathy; it is an antidote to extremism. It validates doubt as a productive intellectual tool. To see one thing and know another – to grapple with paradox – the mind must find a way to allow for the impossible."


Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018 List Gallery, Swarthmore College "Hold Still" (upcoming November 2018)
  • 2017 Von Auersperg Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA "In Rotation"
  • 2011 Laconia Gallery, Boston, MA “Everywhere and Nowhere”
  • 2010 Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT “Present”
  • 2009 The Freedman Gallery at Albright College, Reading, PA “Relative Strangers”

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2018 Eastern Connecticut State University Art Gallery "Still/Live"
  • 2017 InLight Richmond 2017, organized by 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
  • 2017 Flux Factory, Queens, NY "Humorgous Smorgasbord"
  • 2016 Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Boston MA "Constructed Video"
  • 2016 Currents 2016, The Santa Fe International New Media Exhibition and Festival
  • 2015 Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT "Intelligent Objects"
  • 2015 University Museum of Contemporary Art, Amherst, MA "Lyric Visions"
  • 2014 The Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY “Seeing the Sky"
  • 2012 The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME “2012 CMCA Biennial Exhibition”
  • 2012 The Naggar School of Photography, Media, and New Music, Jerusalem, Israel “MusraraMix 2012 Festival”
  • 2011 June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME “Drawing the Line 7”
  • 2011 Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI “Beacons”
  • 2010 Michael Rosenthal Gallery, San Francisco, CA “Mutual Migration”
  • 2009 LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijon, Spain “FeedForward”

Awards and Accolades

  • 2015 Faculty Research Grant, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • 2009-2010 Artist’s Fellowship, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA
  • 2008 Artist’s Fellowship, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH
  • 2008 Artist’s Residency, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO
  • 2007 Grant-In-Aid Award, St. Botolph Club Foundation, Boston
  • 2006 Fellowship Grant, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
  • 1997 Artist’s Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Courses Recently Taught

ART 142 Foundation Studio 2
ART 261 Sculpture 1- Introduction to Sculpture
ART 265 Sculpture 2- Construction Sculpture
ART 360 Sculpture 3 - Moldmaking and Casting
ART 460/461 Sculpture 5/6 - Studio Practice/Advanced Sculpture
ART 497JS Junior/Senior Seminar
ART 795 Graduate Art Seminar