The small static figure in bed contrasts with the giant-sized energetic runner, Terry Fox, hovering above the bed. The confinement of patient triggers fantasies of escape and self-empowerment. This becomes a major theme of the Robert’s later “Illness & Healing”
Robert returned to this image repeatedly. He first showed construction machines glimpsed outside a hospital room window, with the window appearing between a patient on a bed and a visitor in a chair. As he developed the image, Robert dispensed with
Robert draws his own feet on a hospital bed and a window in a bare room opening to a world outside that is inaccessible to him, yet a source of dream and hope. This drawing, made in a downtown Toronto hospital, pictures
This fantastic drawing shows a giant bird of prey hovering over a resting patient. Robert contrasts the vitality and movement of the bird with the weakness and inertia of the patient. Both figures are long and curved; the convex shape of the hawk’s belly fits
This image can be read on two levels. On a realist level, a church choir visits a patient who reaches across his hospital bed toward them. On a more fantastic level, a patient, nearing death or at a pivotal moment
A woman falls asleep on the sand. Everyone else has gone home, leaving the lone figure abandoned in a monochromatic featureless landscape. Is the woman dreaming? Is this a scene from her dream? The sand looks like an infinite pock-marked
Robert had earlier drawn the hospital as part of a cityscape or as seen from his point of view. Now he introduces a surrogate figure to look at the imposing edifice. The image becomes a confrontation of man and place.
Robert combines the nightmarish dream imagery from film noir with the offbeat and comic side of magic realism. He’s also influenced by Frida Kahlo’s The Suicide of Dorothy Hale. Like the Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel, Robert often takes a common