Robert is a self-taught artist with a talent inherited from his father and a technique born of a strong Dutch tradition in art. Emigrating from Holland to Canada in 1951, he now lives in Toronto, Canada. In 1979, he began publishing limited editions of his images under Vanderhorst Graphics. In 1973, he held his first solo exhibition. Over the next three and a half decades, Vanderhorst’s imagery has been used in many diverse ways, including in music videos, television programs, live stage productions and record jacket designs, as well as illustrations in psychology journals and aviation book covers. His paintings have been featured in almost thirty exhibitions, culminating in two major retrospectives at the St. Lawrence Hall, Toronto in 2004 and 2005. Vanderhorst’s work has also been featured and explored in two DVDs titled View from the Gallery 1 and View from the Gallery 2.
A new book on Vanderhorst’s work titled, Thirty Three years Twenty Six Paintings has also just been released. The book includes an introduction and short story, The Yacht Club by famed film director, George A. Romero
Vanderhorst was one of just over a dozen artists to be awarded a commission by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to create an original painting for the new Pearson International Airport. The painting, The Jetliner, depicts the world’s first short range jet transport, designed and built in Malton, Ontario, by Avro Canada. Robert has also painted Canada’s most famous aircraft, The Avro Arrow. The painting was acquired by Canada’s National Aviation Museum in Ottawa and is now part of their permanent art collection.
Vanderhorst’s surreal style and detailed imagery appeals to collectors with an eye for art and an open mind. The bizarre imagination and attention to fine detail in the classical paintings of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali was the initial inspiration for Robert’s exploration into surrealism. His work also reflects the influence of three additional artists who he considers masters as well as mentors. The ironic and profound juxtapositions of images of the Belgian surrealist Magritte, the hauntingly mathematical and exacting graphics of M.C. Escher and the superb mastery of light and technique of Vermeer, have provided Vanderhorst with a visual and technical foundation upon which his canvases are built. “With my surrealism, I try to create imagery that makes demands and asks the viewer to participate,” says Rob. “The scenes can be confusing and troublesome but still impart an odd sense of cohesion and normalcy.”
Highly introspective or simply there to admire, Vanderhorst’s work is as thought provoking as you allow it to be.
A compilation video of Robert Vanderhorst’s surreal art work.
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