Art ID1165
Classification Painting - Oil  
Artist Robert Dilworth  
Title of Work The Great Northern Migration 
Print Issue  
Date Made 1988  
Dimensions: (in inches) Height: 63     Width: 63.5     


Biographical information?

His first chapter began in Lawrenceville, Va., in February 1951. The oldest of eight children, Dilworth says there was no doubt in his mind he would become an artist.

"I can't remember a time when I was not making art," says the father of two. "It came to me very, very early. In elementary school I was sent out of class for drawing and not paying attention to the teacher. But, also, I was asked to do class projects for other teachers."

Dilworth earned a bachelor's degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973 and a master's in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1975. He says he has always dabbled with painting, drawing and photography.

"I couldn't get away from it," he says. "It's something you don't select. They select you. I was destined to be an artist. I'm a prisoner of my own world."

Before settling in Rhode Island, Dilworth lived in many places, including New Mexico, Illinois (for nearly 16 years) and Maryland, teaching in various capacities from kindergarten through the college level. He reached full professorship and tenure track while at Columbia College in Chicago.

At one point he was simultaneously a part-time professor at U.R.I., Brown University and Princeton University, commuting from Rhode Island to New Jersey for about four years. By 1996, he was a full-time professor at U.R.I. where he has taught painting, drawing, design and African American art history ever since.

Dilworth moved to his home in Providence in 1997 and converted the garage into a spacious studio. The house, built in the early 1950s, may look ordinary from the outside. However, the inside is filled with an abundance of character and ongoing projects that he works on in several spaces.

Over the years he has drawn and painted nudes of both genders. Now he is hooked on the male physique, which he finds much more interesting.

Dilworth says he's stumped as far as describing his work, except that it's changing all the time.

"It's hard for me to separate myself from the issues going on today and a lot of the things personally happening to me," he explains. "There are some other historical issues. Things that reach back to Africans, African Americans and enslaved men. The treatment of African American males and females. Those things I'm concerned with."