Cougars and Eagles by Robert Clements; Atlanta, GA

Robert D. Clements, born in Pittsburgh, PA, married to artist Claire Clements, taught at University of Georgia, and for forty years has made sculptures and paintings in Athens, GA. His six major outdoor public art commissions are in Atlanta and Athens. His sculptures are in many Atlanta corporate collections, the Georgia Museum of Art, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.

“Apropos of Roanoke’s sculpture exhibition “The Natural City” my work features those natural denizens from times past (though they might possibly still be around). Bald eagles were sighted in 2009 near Wasena Park on the Roanoke River Greenway. And while cougars are routinely sighted in the Virginal mountains, and although the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service declared the cougar extinct in 2010, nevertheless there continue to be reports of sightings and the question is how will humans adjust to living along with a top predator. Tying together the motifs of the four raptors at the columns top and the four felines at the columns bottom, and spiraling around the twelve foot high Corten Steel column, are a list of nine virtues spiraling upward: glory, distinction, repute, veracity, empathy, respect, grace and truth. Perhaps this list might suggest that modern city life has gone beyond being just red in claw and tooth. (And not wanting to suggest that animals and birds do not share some human virtues of nurturing.) Also decorating the column with texture are about fifty hieroglyphic stick figures shown going about day to day activities. My inspiration is the idea that human civilization, commerce, charities, and social interactions goes beyond solely animals’ interaction.”

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