Robert Wechsler studied sculpture at the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara and was an artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Wechsler’s current series of sculptures has won grants from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and The Center for Cultural Innovation. The New Yorker Magazine has commissioned them for publication. Pieces were showcased at the Columbus Museum of Art and acquired by the permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Wechsler is drawn to commonplace, overlooked objects. His meticulously crafted sculptures surprise and astonish as viewers engage with things they have grown accustomed to overlooking. The mundane is reframed; clothing, furniture, bicycles and coins are transformed into objects of fascination.
Wechsler’s current work centers on coins, primarily the US penny. An American icon on par with the Statue of Liberty, the penny is a monument to a beloved president, a proclamation of a national creed, and a time stamped record of our civilization. The most humble monetary piece of the most powerful economy in world history, the penny has been minted in the countless billions, making it the most common coin in human history, and one of humanity’s most numerous artifacts.
By precisely notching and joining coins (a technique known as "forcing" where no glue, adhesives or welding is incorporated) he creates arresting, highly regular geometric forms. Sculptures range in size from hand-held polyhedrons made of ten coins to monumental lattices comprised of tens of thousands of coins. These objects call to mind platonic solids, molecules, or the modular structures of Sol Le Witt.
Wechsler highlights the beauty of these coins, each one aged and worn, each one stamped with a year, impressed with a history. These coins, often dismissed as pocket clutter and ubiquitous to the point of invisibility, are peculiar repositories of information. They are reminders that there are riches in the most modest of places.