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"I am intrigued by the interplay of form and technique, and the rich artistic expression that can be created when form and technique enhance each other".
Robert Kuo was born in Beijing in 1946. He moved with his family to Taiwan in 1947 where he grew up in an artistic environment. His father, an art professor and Chinese watercolor painter, started a cloisonné atelier where Robert became an apprentice at age 15. Although he never engaged in formal art studies, he gained technical expertise and learned about decorative tradition from his father and from 'hands on' training. As he mastered each of the steps involved in cloisonné, from preparing copper bases to preparing enamels and firing the kilns, Kuo absorbed all the basics that were to serve him as he pursued his career as an artist.
A visit to the United States persuaded the young artist that the American environment would benefit him, both personally and professionally. In 1973, he immigrated to the United States and opened a studio for cloisonné in Beverly Hills. Kuo soon cultivated a sophisticated clientele that appreciated the way he 'opened up' Chinese decorative traditions.
In 1985, Kuo shifted his focus from working in cloisonné to repoussé, the art of hammering decorative relief into metal. The artist began to experiment with shaping the copper itself to create new forms. He also developed different finishes to apply to the hammered metal. Kuo looked to China for artisans experienced in ancient repoussé techniques. He trained these craftsmen to adapt their skills to create new repoussé forms and objects.
In 1999, he began to work in lacquer. As with repoussé and cloisonné, Kuo has taken this medium beyond the traditional colors and designs, and has combined it with repoussé to create stunning objects, some of which take up to one year to produce. His fresh interpretation of early Eastern forms results in artwork that is unquestionably contemporary in nature, but with a birthright that goes back many centuries.