Robb Putnam builds animal forms with cast off blankets, shirts, fake fur, rags, thread, plastic garbage bags, leather scraps and glue. These sculptures evoke playful, whimsical characters found in children’s books, but his characters are something different: they are physically and psychologically vulnerable and seem like overgrown stuffed toys or imaginary friends—misfits whose demeanors both invite and possibly repel.
Putnam’s drawings, too, create images that carry associations with simplicity, innocence and play, but as if experienced in a fevered dream. In these works, cartoon heads drift, collide and overlap in space. These orphaned characters in search of a body attempt to reassemble them selves into a larger whole—but never quite manage the feat.
In both his sculptures and drawings, Putnam explores the murky spaces intersecting empathy, fear, intimacy, humor, the desire to touch or connect and the impulse to back away. Through these works, he hopes to expose a complex and contradictory human presence that mirrors our own vulnerability.