Born 1955 in Broken Bow, Nebraska. Lives and works in New York.
Robert Terry received attention in the early 1980s for his vivid and colorful landscape paintings. His ability to combine neo-expressionism and realism makes his landscapes into mental as much as physical experiences. Initially Terry's heavy impasto colors seem to embrace one another and then strongly emphasize their independence. At close range the interaction between the layers of paint makes the work abstract. When backing up, however, the muddle clears up and a painterly romantic landscape appears. Nature's connection to the nation is well spoken of in the romantic literature of the 19th century in which a country's nature is described in lofty, almost godlike terms. By choosing a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem Nature as backdrop, Terry grants his nature sceneries a near theistic dimension. For over a decade, Robert Terry has besides landscapes also created intense and at first glance conventional portrait of the American Civil War President Abraham Lincoln. On closer examination a remarkable consistency appears where size and color scheme in particular gives the series a striking uniformity. As reproductions of reproductions, the Lincolns recalls Andy Warhol’s depictions of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy but Terry’s examination of the iconic character continues in a sense where Warhol’s ends. They explore the psychological depth of the portrayal rather than the iconic surface. Unobstructed by the popular imagination Terry’s portraits transforms Lincoln the Legend into Lincoln the Man.