New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Rob Turner

Rob Turner
OAS Research Associate and graphic artist, former Director of Publications

Swarthmore, UC Davis; B.F.A., California College of the Arts, 1985

Rob TurnerFirst was ceramics; then literature and art, followed by five years in a working circumnavigation of the world. One decade of farming, two of scientific illustration. Fascinations rising: the edge of the correct, bone-beauty, deep time, ink in shade and sunlight.

Now I have thirty-one years amidst OAS's constant efforts to rediscover our human family's earlier conditions. Though my colleagues assiduously cleave their data to the principle of least astonishment, striking patterns emerge: nomadic pulse as wave motion; nature as tribal character as architecture; ritual and celebration as survival. We feel the push of life before us manifest in worked stone and clay.

Concurrently, we in Publications edit, illustrate, and design all OAS reports, to carefully publish and maintain the final record of the habitation sites vanishing before us. We also aid in outreach exhibits and brochures, in one instance, touring the Beyond Borders exhibit throughout New Mexico and Casas Grandes, Mexico, to honor the conjoining of ancient occupation zones, and of modern scholarship.

My own illustrations, from dinosaurs to great houses and atlatls, have gone to the School for Advanced Research and Garland Presses, American Antiquity, American Archaeology, El Palacio, exhibits, school texts, and union ads. For out-of-field refreshment I'm illustrating a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy for Oxford (finally emerging from Inferno and Purgatorio, into Paradiso).