Director and Curator of Wiegand Gallery
Associate Professor, Department of Art and Graphic Design
Robert Poplack creates both representational and non-representational paintings. His most recent work is a series of images representing various still-life elements in the landscape: a bird, a fish, a group of tires, inspired by memories of the rural landscape. Poplack works from drawings, evolving a simple set of forms into a more complex composition using muted color and texture. The paintings are not so much visual descriptions of objects and landscape as they are painterly meditations on their subjects.
Poplack was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan; his father appreciated and collected 19th century American paintings. Robert studied art history at Case Western Reserve University, taking courses taught by the renown Cleveland Museum director Sherman Lee. He spent a year working with a furniture maker in Chiapas, Mexico, later moving to California to study with painters Patrick Aherne and Terry St. John at UC Santa Cruz. Graduate study was undertaken at UC Berkeley under David Simpson, Joan Brown and Elmer Bischoff. After receiving his MFA in 1987 Poplack exhibited his work nationally while teaching at Santa Rosa Junior College and UC Santa Cruz; in 1999 he joined the faculty at Notre Dame de Namur University, where he teaches painting and also serves as director of the school’s highly-considered Wiegand Gallery.
- MFA, Painting. University of California, Berkeley, 1987.
- MA, Painting. University of California, Berkeley, 1985.
- Fifth Year Graduate Certificate, Art. University of California, Santa Cruz, 1981.
- BA, Art. University of California, Santa Cruz, 1978.
- Eduardo Carrillo Prize in Painting, Finalist, Meseo Eduardo Carillo, 2007
- Faculty Development Research Grant, Notre Dame de Namur University, 2004
- Faculty Development Research Grant, Notre Dame de Namur University, 2000
- The Mary Caldor Hayes Award for Representational Painting, University of California, Berkeley, 1987
- Special GSA Award, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1981
- “Remembering Lundy, Louis & Lundy Siegriest: Six Decades of Painting.” The Siegriest Legacy Gallery, 2013.
- “Elements of Desire and the Paintings of Charles Pompilius.” David Klein Gallery, Birmingham, MI, 2001.
- “Terry St. John as Artist and Teacher.” Hackett/Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2001.
Lectures (as Guest Artist)
- Community School of Music and Arts at Finn Center, Mountain View, CA, 2007.
- Canada College, Redwood City, CA, 2006.
- Critique of Advanced Painting Students, Sonoma State University, Cotati, CA, 2005.
- Panel Discussion, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA, 2000.
- Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, 1999.
- Boston University, M.F.A. Program in Painting, Boston, MA, 1996.
- Indian Valley Art Association, Novato, CA, 1993.
- Larkin Street Youth Center, San Francisco, CA, 1991.
One and Two Person Exhibitions
- Jan Wurm & Robert Poplack, Liberty Arts Gallery, Yreka, CA, 2013
- Robert Poplack: Dawings, Gump’s Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2009
- Intension/Invention: Painting, Drawing and sculpture, Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) at Finn Center, Mountain View, CA, 2007
- Landscape Based Works on Paper”, Canada College, Redwood City, CA, 2005
- Land and Water: Recent Abstract Landscapes, Stanford University Faculty Club, Stanford, CA, 2003
- Rural Landscapes, O.K. Harris/David Klein Gallery, Detroit, MI, 1994
- Recent Paintings, Hackett Freedman Gallery, (formerly Contemporary Realist Gallery) San Francisco, CA, 1990
Selected Group Exhibitions
- Faculty Exhibition, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA, 2013
- Abstract, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA, 2011
- Landscape Derivations, Skyline College, San Mateo, CA, 2010
- Consider the Source: Nature as reference and Inspiration, Napa Valley Museum, Yountville, CA, 2008
- Small Works Exhibition, Prince Street Gallery, New York, NY, 2008
- Earth in Upheaval “, Sonoma Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, CA, 2006
- Landscape: East Coast/West Coast, Galesburg Civic Art Center, Galesburg, IL, 2003
- Unbound Vistas: Artists Interpret the Northern California Landscape, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, CA, Juryed Exhibition, 2003
- The Curatorial Eye, 15 Perspectives, Sonoma Museum of Visual Art, Santa Rosa, CA, 2003
- Landscapes, d.p. Fong Galleries, San Jose, CA, 2001
- Reinventing the Physical World: Seven Artists Exploring the Interplay Between Abstraction and Representation, Campus Art Gallery, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA, 2000
- Small Works Exhibition, Museum of Visual Art, Santa Rosa, CA, Juried Exhibition, 2000
- At the Millennium: Contemporary Paintings from Northern California, Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, 1999
- You Are Here, Bay Area Artists, The Student Center Art Gallery, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, 1997
- Urban Landscape II, Long Beach Civic Arts Gallery, Long Beach, CA. Juried Exhibition, 1997
- Histories and Legacies, Worth Ryder Gallery, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1996
- Substantive Light: The Work of Four Bay Area Painters, California Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, CA, 1996
- Palette of Light, The Art Museum of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA, 1996
- Plein Air Painters, The Pope Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA, 1996
- Faculty Collects, Fresno State University Museum, Fresno, CA, 1994
- New Bay Area Painting, Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 1994
- Landscape, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA, 1993
- Bay Area Painting”, Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 1993
- Central and Northern California Landscapes”, Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, 1993
- Painting From Nature, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA, 1993
- Bay Area Painting II, Contemporary Realist Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 1991
- Contemporary Landscape Painting, Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA, 1991
- Slopes of Diablo II, Valley Art Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 1990
- New Bay Area Painting, Contemporary Realist Gallery”, San Francisco, CA, 1990
- Contra Costa Contours, Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 1990
- The California Scene, Banaker Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 1989
- Six Northern California Plein Air Painters, Davis-Stinson Gallery, Palm Desert, CA, 1989
- Introductions ‘88, The Banaker Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 1988
- Points of View, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA, 1988
- Premiere Exhibition”, Gallery Concord, Concord, CA, 1988
- Contemporary Plein Air Painters of Northern California”, Gallery 30, San Mateo, CA, 1988
- M.F.A. Exhibition, University Art Museum, Berkeley, CA, 1987
- Prize Review Exhibition, Worth Ryder Gallery, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1987
- The California Landscape, Gallery 30, San Mateo, CA, 1987
- En Plein Air, Gallery 30, San Mateo, C, 1987
- A Celebration, Glastonbury Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 1985
- Contemporary Santa Cruz Landscape Painting”, Smith Gallery, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, 1985
- Alumni Exhibition, Smith Gallery, University of California Santa Cruz, CA, 1985
- Done in the Open, Glastonbury Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 1984
- Rolling Hills and Purple Cows: California Landscapes in a Painterly Tradition, Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 1982
All exhibitions for the Wiegand Gallery unless otherwise noted
- Brad Brown: New and Selected Paintings and Drawings, 2012
- Adelle Landis Bischoff: Then and Now, Mark Bischoff: Sculptures, 2012
- Donna Cehrs: Still Life and Portrait Painting, 2011
- Eduardo Carrillo, Within a Cultural Context, 2010
- Realism and Abstraction, Four Printmakers, 2009
- Rober Ortbal, Benige: Growth and Neglect, 2009
- Misch Kohn/ Conscience and Vision, 2008
- Melissa Meyer in Black & White, 2008
- Hardy Hanson: Materials & Meaning, 2008
- Landscape, Observation, and Abstraction: Recent Paintings by Hearne Pardee and Gina Werfel, 2007
- Retablo: Behind the Altar, A Collection by Paul LeBaron Thiebaud, 2007
- Zeuxis: Facets of Perceptions, 2006
- The Inside of Now-Abstract Paintings and Drawings by Arthur Monroe, 2006
- Land and Light: Paintings and Prints by Kathryn Metz”, Wiegand Gallery, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont CA, 2005
- Sam Hernandez, The Thinkers Stone, Sculptures and Drawings, 2005
- Landscapes, San Mateo County Center, Redwood City, CA, 2005
- Uncompromising Vision, The Art Jack Jefferson, 2004
- Paul Harris Drawings and Sculptures, Wiegand Gallery, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA, 2004
- Realms and Fragments, Installations by Robert Armstrong, Ronit Arnon and Claude Smith, 2003
- Society of Six, American Masters of Color, 2003
- Theme, Source and Resource, Contemporary Landscape Painters, D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY, 2002
- Foibles and Fantasies, The Paintings of Robert Chiarito and Patrick Morrison, Model/Artist, Terry St. John, Figurative Works, 1961-2001
- John Walker, Oceans, Tide Pools and Plein Air Paintings, 1961-2001
- Unexpected Beauty; The Paintings of Stephanie Sanchez, 2001
- The Moment of Form: Paintings and Monoprints of Don Weygandt, 2000
- Paul Wonner and William Brown: From the Figurative Tradition, 1999
- Nature Envisioned: The Paintings of Patrick Aherne, 1998