Keyword: light

Red Light, Blue Light thumb

Red Light, Blue Light

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

Expressionist Studies and Notes thumb

Expressionist Studies and Notes

Two thumbnail sketches show a woman’s face divided down the middle in Matisse-like fashion; one side is coloured red, the other blue. In the margin, Robert writes: “The moody stylish lighting suggests glamour and excitement. As well it implies a sensual feel and

Flame thumb


Popular expressions, such as “my old flame,” or “to hold a torch for someone,” often connect to Robert’s paintings. In this case, Robert refers to an elaborate metaphor from Elizabeth Smart’s novel: “Can I see the light of a match while

Examining x-rays thumb

Examining x-rays

Robert contrasts light from the x-ray wall with the shadow on the doctors, as well as the spectral interior of bodies with the solid masses of the two men. The x-ray gives a privileged view inside the body of the patient, but these doctors

Window (Night) thumb

Window (Night)

Robert realized the creative possibilities of making variations on the same work. With the matching paintings, Window (Day) and Window (Night), Robert has not changed the composition, only the light and colour. When seen together, the pair of paintings create

Into the Light thumb

Into the Light

This Ezekiel-like vision by way of Bob Dylan is one of a number of pen and ink studies exploring the idea of a stranded man looking for help. In earlier versions of the image, Robert depicts actual landscapes around the

Underground Parking thumb

Underground Parking

Robert repeatedly used cars as an emblem of modern mythology. The figure with the keys may refer to Charon, ferryman to the underworld, or to Saint Peter, the gatekeeper to heaven. The machine with its lights gives it the power to overcome darkness, but

Study for Red Light, Blue Light thumb

Study for Red Light, Blue Light

Alternating red and blue–the colours of a police car’s warning light. Perhaps the woman is caught in its glare, a suspect of wrong-doing. Perhaps the light comes from a neon hotel sign, a favourite film noir device. However Robert has

Encounter thumb


The image is reminiscent of Alex Colville’s haunting painting, Horse and Train, freezing the moment before an inevitable collision between on-rushing animal and speeding machine. Robert plays down this immanent sense of impact, with a more brooding sense of confrontation. Has

Double portrait of Robert Pope thumb

Double portrait of Robert Pope

Robert occasionally collaborated on projects with his brother, Doug, a photographer and filmmaker. In this photo-collage, made by sandwiching two negatives together, the artist is portrayed as a manipulator of light — changeable, dramatic and ghost-like. Doug was influenced by American