Allan Rosenbaum

Artist Statement

“The uncanny is something which is secretly familiar, which has undergone repression and then returned from it. Everything that is uncanny fulfills this condition.” – Freud

In my work, I rely upon an internal dialogue of intuitive responses—a process of discovery—as I build up, remove, rearrange and develop forms during the process of their creation. I embrace the unfamiliar, uncertain and unexplainable with a goal of creating something that is evocative, eccentric or uncanny. Currently, I am exploring the idea of the binary in a body of work focusing on dichotomous properties.

Binary negotiates the territory between drawing and sculpture through strategies involving both intention and serendipity. The project is comprised of individual sculptures with clear demarcations between surfaces that are incised, stamped, marked and touched and I use these structures to generate ephemeral “shadow drawings.” Although the sculptures are non-objective, my work is informed by my longstanding interest in the human body, microscopic photography, mechanical structures and traditional craft processes.

Binary celebrates structural nuances, while exploring the notion of beauty outside of classical standards and cultural expectations. I deliberately avoid developing a linear construction of meaning, instead exploring possibilities with chance compositions and accidents through experimentation. Although this project is primarily a visual investigation, I also hope to provide inspiration for viewers to reconsider the binaries we encounter in the world around us.


Allan Rosenbaum is an artist and former Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. His grants, fellowships and awards include two Individual Artist Fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts; two research leaves from the School of the Arts at VCU to develop new sculptures for exhibition; two VCU faculty grants to support the research and development of large-scale sculptures; a Teaching Excellence Grant from VCU and a Distinguished Service Award from the Visual Art Center of Richmond. Early in his career, he received three grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board for sculpture projects. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and he is represented in public collections including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, Arkansas Art Center Decorative Arts Museum; Madison Art Center; Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama, and the City of Richmond Public Art Commission.