While it is clear that artist Robert Bissell (American, b. England 1952) derives his inspiration from the animal world, his paintings are not simply portraits of bears, rabbits, and other creatures. They are allegories for the challenges and discoveries all living beings encounter on life’s journey.
Bissell’s reading of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces initiated his own journey as artist to portray “the callings we have, the quests we undertake, difficulties we share, helping hands that appear out of nowhere (it seems), and finally the elations and conclusions we all have in common.”
Hero: The Paintings of Robert Bissell is organized according to the construct of Campbell’s hero’s journey. Each of the 10 chapters—from “Genesis” and “Vision” through “Crossing” and “Initiation” to “Return” and “Elixir”—presents paintings that interpret these archetypal experiences. Bissell’s grand and detailed landscapes provide Edenic stages for each scene in the journey.
Hardcover Smyth-sewn book, with jackett
140 pages with 130 full-color reproductions
Includes Chronology and Index of Artworks
Introduction by Carl Little
Commentary by Robert Bissell
• High-quality, premium stock matte art paper
• Exceptional color reproduction
• Printed with soy-based inks
• Sewn binding ensures long-lasting enjoyment
In Robert Bissell’s magical realism paintings, animals are a mirror for human existence, self-definition, and reflection. Bissell grew up on a farm in the English countryside, immersed in a world of animals and literature, and he incorporates both in his art and writings. His explorations of zoomorphism—portraying humans as non-humans—prompt us to ponder the environment, death and renewal, the stages of transition, and the mystery of life. He invokes a sense of peace and harmony in his allegorical paintings and dreamy landscapes, and continually investigates the nature of spirit. He divides his time between London and San Francisco and exhibits regularly in the UK and the US.
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