Books & Stories
Robert grew up surrounded by books. His parents were publishers and he was an avid reader. Through his commercial work as book illustrator and designer, Robert strove to communicate ideas embedded in stories. In his fine art projects, he drew on sources ranging from Moby Dick to Don Quixote, Ovid’s Metamorphosis to Alice in Wonderland. Robert created a series of cartoons based on T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock that humorously mixed references to Michelangelo, art history and pop culture. The artist was influenced by the dream-like quality of Magical Realist writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and W.P. Kinsella. Here ghosts intermingle with living souls, and society is seen as a complex hybrid of colonial attitudes, modern globalization and local culture. Robert created a series of paintings inspired by Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, an experimental novel full of references to the Bible and to classical mythology. The project encouraged Robert to treat the subject of lovers in an imaginative and metaphorical way. For his final exhibition, Robert wrote his own book, Illness and Healing, and made it the subject of his most ambitious exhibition. Here he followed the tradition of Goya—an extended treatment of a subject provided a panoramic study of society at a moment of crisis. After his death, Robert’s art continues to appear in books, helping others to communicate their stories.