Over the past 35 years, Roberts sculptures have been recognized and placed nationally and internationally in public and private collections. I have known Robert Toll for many years and have collected his work. His latest work is comprised of found objects, building materials and welded steel.
What began as a typical search for unusual items to incorporate into my next sculpture became a series of emotionally charged and politically driven work. About a year ago, I came across some old, weather-beaten leather straps that had been used in bridles as well as other kinds of horse tack. Around the same time, I discovered a fascinating woman that I would describe as an organized hoarder. She had a collection of unusual and curious metal objects that I knew I needed to use for something that was forming in my mind.
As I began assembling these objects, I realized the direction my new work was taking me. Thought the theme was specific to the situation in the Middle East as I know it from the barrage of news media. It transcends the present tragedies and applies universally to all past and future wars.
The first pieces in this series are sculptures that represent people’s in the this series are sculptures that represent people’s desire for freedom … from war, oppression and captivity. The use of the leather straps, chains and cutting tools symbolize the constraints and impediments of freedom while cans, containers and baskets represent objects that people might take with them when fleeing for their lives.
The images in the news of the bombing of Aleppo motivated me to recreate a more tangible repercussion of war, as seen below in the pictures of buildings reduced to their skeletal structures. To accomplish this, I built wooden molds in the shape of a multi-level structure, poured cement, added paint and used a blowtorch to create fire damage.”