This moody, mask-like portrait hides as much as it reveals. The central character in a series based on Elizabeth Smart’s autobiographical novel, By Grand Central Station I Sat down and Wept, the woman is caught in an intersection of coloured lights and shadows, creating a sense of unstable emotions and attitudes.
The image is influenced by both film noir (Robert read hard-boiled detective novels and watched Hollywood films of the 1940s while recovering from his cancer treatments) and by the art of Caravaggio and Rembrandt. These Baroque artists used dramatic lighting effects to convey the mystery of religion and hint at the internal qualities of people. In contrast, film noir is dark in its look, confusing and labyrinthine in structure, with cynical heroes who venture into an underworld where the lines blur between right and wrong.