Imaginary Realist Robert Bissell creates a completely different atmosphere from our daily existence, inviting us to learn more about ourselves. In his paintings the world of animals is a mirror for human existence, self-definition and reflection. These are not mere children's tales - quite the contrary. Bissell's work causes us to reflect on the environment, life, death, renewal and the stages of transition - departing from the safety of family, and making our way in the world.
Early tribal cultures believed the natural world to be the bridge connecting earth and spirit. Animals were regarded as powerful spiritual beings that could connect humans to unseen realms, the natural world, and each other.
"Bissell's work disarms by narrating vitally grown-up and urgent allegories in the guise of child-like humor," William Zimmer, art critic for The New York Times warns.
Bissell's paintings explore the idea that animals have metaphysical importance to our own spiritual well-being. Lured into a realm devoid of humans, the animal characters require we consider our own condition and place in nature. While whimsical at first glance, there is underlying tension and precariousness beneath the images. Disarmed, we objectively consider ourselves without familiar references.
"His animal work is full of charged meaning, lore and touched by surrealism", said Suzanne Bellah, Director Carnegie Art Museum. Influenced by the surreal legacy of Magritte, he mixes scales and uses gigantism with a variety of textures and subtle color palettes.
Bissell grew up in Somerset, England, and retains in his love of art, a love of rural life, Celtic legends and panoramic landscapes. His keen interest in visuals began at an early age while documenting life around him through photographs. After studying graphic design and obtaining a Masters Degree from The Royal College of Art in London, Robert moved to San Francisco and began a successful career in retail advertising. After 15 years, he decided to devote all his time to painting. He currently lives in Northern California and regularly exhibits in museums and galleries across the United States and Europe.
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