A show including original works of the artist Robert Bissell will be on display at Hanson Gallery 669 Bridgeway Sausalito CA beginning May 1st through June 15th.
Inspired in his childhood of animals in their natural settings gave the artist a special perspective on nature.
While out in the field sketching, a tiny field mouse scampered into view. On a lark he decided to include the field mouse in his landscape which, to viewers, became the engaging element in the work. From there Bissell realized he could suggest narratives to people through painting animals. “The paintings are really about the human condition, says Bissell, the animals are the protagonists in my narratives. I don’t try to emphasize human qualities in the animals, I try to get people to see animal qualities in themselves."
His coffee table book “Hero: The paintings of Robert Bissell is inspired by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
In Bissells hand those on the heroic journey are all sorts of wildlife but mostly bears and rabbits. Like all on a quest or following a calling, they often face challenges and obstacles-physically as well as ones that call into question lifes bigger questions.
Despite a calm whimsical world there is often a bit of edge to Bissells somewhat peaceable kingdom. There can be a menace there. I find life is like that. I am never sure what people are thinking.
While he doesn’t see himself as an environmental activist, it is part of a message he hopes to communicate. Bissells work disarms by narrating vitally grown-up and urgent allegories in the guise of childlike humor observed the late New York Times art critic William Zimmer. "Like a latter day Beatrix Potter, in whose illustrations everything is seen from a rabbit’s eye view, a good deal of Bissell’s content suggests menace, and mirrors human existence. Bissell’s creatures great and small easily become our surrogates, and the paintings may be read as life lessons."