Los Angeles based artist, Rob Clayton, creates work derivative of the complicated nature of the working class, their interactions with mechanical devices, and the notions of “labor”. This new path is far removed from his collaborative practice with the Clayton Brothers, where the two had often worked in a "call and respond" approach, simultaneously sharing thoughts and ideas in a back and forth process. His current body of work represents a thirst for new experimentation and a desire for self direction. By investigating the effects of essentially non-functioning, obsolete, contraptions, these creative instincts are used to represent, in a deeply abstract way, the current deceptive and material enigma that we all experience. The implication that worldly expectations will be naturally met is faced with the reality that there is no promise of wealth or wellbeing. Machines are made, altered, improved upon, and discarded, left as relics of the past. The use of color in the works, at times bold and intense against an often limited palette of black and white, arrive in waves. The nod to a smile, gesture or introduction of a playful figure in the work breaks a cycle of seriousness and helps cope with the innumerable abstractions of the world it occupies. The scrappy, plasma cut metal sculptures, caked in thick, chunky paint feel like the works lifeblood. The oily substance oozing from its gears and levers, seems to express an acknowledgment of a heavy, enervated side while materials such as oil stick, spray paint, acrylic, and other media induce a lighter, more human point of view to the drawings and paintings.
Rob currently serves as a full time faculty member at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.