Love was a frowned-upon subject in the serious-minded Canadian art world of the 1980s. If treated at all, love was usually handled with irony and detachment. This approach can be seen in Robert’s early painting, High School Dance. The painting mimics the black and white awkwardness of an amateur photo, yet at the same time it introduces an important theme: intimate private moments played out in public spaces. In Ghosts, Robert shows the romantic appeal of lovers on the big screen, a wry comment of the hypnotic effects of popular culture. Shifting Weather, a panoramic image of couples at a fairground, suggests that love is subject to luck and as changeable as the weather. Robert turns to the Canadian novel, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, a story of an adulterous affair between two writers. The novel allows Robert a chance to explore a more metaphorical language for his images. Nature imagery abounds, along with allusions to mythology. Robert is inspired in part by a frustrated past relationship and by the fear that his illness may limit future chances at love. For the cancer series, the painting Hug shows a couple embracing tenderly, oblivious of the clumsy pole, intravenous solution and twisting tube that seem to entangle them. The Gift shows a cancer patient holding his newborn child. His illness makes him more appreciative of the gifts of life and love.