TWO ARTISTS * Robert W. Vanderhorst - Surrealist Painter * Nash the Slash (1948-2014) Musician, Composer
THE AMERICANIZATION OF GUSTAVE’S PARIS
1996, 14” x 12”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
One of the most Western of exports — American football — has found its way into the heart of European culture, the city of Paris. A huddle of American football players appears in a humorous adaptation of the 1876 painting Paris Street: A Rainy Day, by French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (1848 -1894).
All the figures are sporting shoulder and thigh padding, suggesting that in our time, we dress to protect ourselves, literally and metaphorically, from the impact of new societal pressures and the blows of an aggressive world around us.
TWO ARTISTS - A COMPARATIVE STUDY
1975, 40” x 28”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Dedicated to an old friend, artist and eccentric visionary, Phil Barber.
Maracas Beach, Trinidad
Phillip Barber 1944–1986
1977, 66” x 31”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
All is in opposition, yet a careful harmony exists in a place where space and time blend seamlessly. While the divers explore the improbable atmosphere around them, the shepherd and the spacemen casually take notice of each other while the sheep slowly metamorphose from their stone sleep.
1990/91, 66" x 31", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Counterpoint is the continuation of the story told in the painting Countervail. The perspective is from the forest looking back towards where the old shepherd once stood. Time has slowly moved on. The exploration continues as the landscape alters and expands its boundaries by including a space where even reflections become reality.
THE ILLUSION OF FREEDOM
1975, 53" x 33", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
An elephant restrained, a gazelle tethered to a pole and sailors catching the wind. In their own way, each has felt a sense of freedom but regardless of how hard they struggle or how fast they run, they will forever be nature's captive.
THE YACHT CLUB
1979, 56" x 36", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
In a columned room open to the sky, members of the Yacht Club close their eyes and daylight dreams of sailors race through their minds.
1977, 45" x 31", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Surrounded by revealing portraits of her relatives and dressed to receive unwanted guests, the old woman stares with a piecing eye ready to defend their lifestyle. The carpet about her oozes from the fireplace and doorway and lies as a symbol of the organized chaos that has given her this legacy.
‘MAGRITTE’S DARK ANGEL’
44” x 28”, Oil on Canvas, 2015
A somber and pensive impressionist style Paris night scene inspired by Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte’s painting, ‘Le Mal du Pays’ (Homesickness) created in 1940. The painting features two dark angel like figures with raised wings standing on the Pont Alexander III bridge overlooking the River Seine. The bridge, illuminated with a line of ornate Art Nouveau iron gas lamps, reflects the exuberant Beaux-Arts style of the late 1900s.
Two travellers pause in the middle of the bridge huddled beneath an umbrella, perhaps reading a map. In front of the travellers a third individual, dressed in a black overcoat and hat, sits atop a penny-farthing style large wheeled bicycle. He’s stopped and hovers a few feet above the pavement facing one of the angels. The scene in the interior space of the spokeless wheels appears slightly altered, evoking a lightness in atmosphere.
The cyclist is watching with curiosity and quiet anticipation as one of the dark angels reads a note from home.
"Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see". Rene Magritte
1989, 40” x 28”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
This painting was created for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police anti-drug campaign: the Canadian Offensive on Drug Education (CODE). Laden with symbolic imagery, CODE presents a threatening and disturbing perspective on drug abuse.
2008, 18” X 24”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
THE AVRO ARROW
1991, 24” x 38”, Oil on Canvas. National Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada - Permanent art collection.
The Arrow is performing an inverted loop and the unusual perspective was designed to give the viewer a heightened sense of the maneuver. Directly below and to the right of the nose cone you will find several floating segments of land and a small boat floating above the clouds (the contrail passes beneath the largest piece of land). This was done to depict a sense of disorientation - the same experience a pilot may have executing such a maneuver.
THE BLUE ANGELS
1995, 3’ x 6’, Oil on Canvas - Permanent art collection of the SMITHSONIAN AIR & SPACE MUSEUM, WASHINGTON, DC.
In 1995, with the assistance of Admiral Skip Furlong, former Vice President of the United States Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and Capt. Bob Rasmussen, former Director of the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida, I created an oil painting celebrating the 50th. Anniversary of the Blue Angels. The painting depicts all eight of the aircraft used by the Blues since their inception in 1946. Cdr. Butch Voris originated the Blue Angels and flew the first F6F Hellcat for the team in 1946. He also named the new Navy flight demonstration team after a night club in New York City called “The Blue Angel”.After completion in 1995/96, the painting went on display in the Atrium of the United States National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida for 2 1/2 years.
The painting has been acquired by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington DC.
1995, 20" x 16", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Time becomes irrelevant as history and the present occupy the same space. A pilot's memory of his F-86 Sabre enters the room without a sound while being pursued by another aircraft skirting through a 17th century European naval battle.
THE JETLINER - 2001, 34" x 24", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Greater Toronto Airports Authority Permanent Art Collection.
This aircraft first flew Aug. 10, 1949 and reached speeds in excess of 500 mph. During the proving trials in 1950/51, the aircraft broke every passenger transport performance record on the books. The Jetliner was also the first jet transport to carry mail across the US. In 1952, National Airlines contracted Avro for a small fleet and Howard Hughes was so impressed with the aircraft that he wanted 30 aircraft for TWA. Unfortunately, the Canadian government ordered the Jetliner program halted and told Avro to tool up for the design and manufacture of the CF-100 jet fighter. Only one Jetliner was built and in 1956, the aircraft was broken up for scrap after seven years of faultless flying. This painting is also part of the story of aviation designer and engineer James Floyd. As VP and Director of Engineering for Avro Canada, Mr. Floyd was also responsible for the Avro Arrow . The reflection of Arrow 201 can be seen on the tarmac. After the Arrow was cancelled, Floyd took his team to England and conducted all the early feasibility studies for Hawker-Siddeley on the SST Concorde. The little girl in the painting is holding that future in her hand. Not unexpectedly, the Concorde bears a striking resemblance to the Arrow. The term "Jetliner" was coined by its designer James C. Floyd.
1984/86, 45" x 27", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Blending as a chameleon would into the winter scene around him, the dreamer floats quietly above the snow. Held near waking by thin restraints he is undisturbed and observed only by a small dog passing by. As a full moon gently places its light on the landscape, his dreams fill the shadows.
DRESSED FOR THE TURQUOISE CURTAIN
1998, 24" x 18", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Before their vacation begins, a couple pose for a formal portrait on a sun-drenched beach. As palm trees transform themselves into studies from the Sistine Chapel, a male model of Michelangelo's Libyan Sibyl comes alive from the base of several young palms and begins to draw the landscape towards them. He has been carefully arranging the curtain to reveal the true beauty of their tropical paradise.
The beach is Pigeon Point, Tobago.
17. FATE’S PASSAGE - 2014, 18” x 24”, Oil on Canvas. The scene takes place in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris at the Museum of Natural History. The ‘Museum’ is on this side of the doorway, not through it. The mother and her young son are going out through the in door, ‘Fate's Passage’. As she exits, the young mother slowly becomes the space around her. The man standing at the doorway is the museum's greeter. The astronaut has recently arrived, confused but intrigued. Near the exit, the shadow of a stooped Churchill leans heavily on his cane and the grey figure of an arrogant Napoleon standing on the balcony both suggest that they been guests of the museum for quite some time. This ‘Museum’ is a spectre of our future.
THE FIRST PROBE
1982, 45" x 28", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Stolen from collector (Athens, Greece) - never recovered.
A primitive emotion probes into the fabric of civilized minds. No matter how benign and secure the environment appears, even cautious exploration can change forever how we see our surroundings.
2007, 48" x 22", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Permanent art collection - Crescent School
A cool and gentle breeze guides the Choirmaster and his Choirboys over the festivities while they perform a choral melody at the Crescent School Field Day. The event takes place on the old Massey estate at Dentonia Park. History blends seamlessly as past and present combine in this idyllic and nostalgic pastoral scene.
1995/96, 20" x 16", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
In a secluded cove on a northern lake, a gift is presented. The swimmer's catechism begins but the answers will remain as elusive as a ripple of water on the sandy shore.
THE GAMMON SPORTS PALACE
1979, 30" x 19", Ball Pen and Pencil - SOLD - Private Collection
Deception and illusion are the foundation of this venue. The scene is confusing but as more questions are asked, less becomes known and the games become more difficult.
AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE NORMAL
1979, 27" x 17", Ball Pen and Pencil - SOLD - Private Collection
When one's personal radar fails, what was once done in safety no longer seems wise. One dresses differently for the day ahead.
And if you look closely, you will soon come to realize that the boundaries of normal have changed. You are the entertainment they are watching.
2005, 28" x 18", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Unfettered by the structure surrounding him and driven by a singular purpose, a muscular thoroughbred thunders through a gothic interior scene reminiscent of the chapels and libraries of Oxford. His legacy is secure but his reality appears fluid as clouds in the ceiling change into dripping parasols and the carpet beneath his hoofs begins to float and transform into a galaxy of patterns. Surrounded by the trophies of past victories and with pride and admiration, family members watch intently as their courser rushes towards another victory and yet another race.
2004, 24" x 14", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
The theme is one of exploration. The baby is presented as the focal point introducing the concept that with a fervid imagination anything is possible. As he spreads his hands apart, the landscape becomes fluid. There are no boundaries in his young mind to restrict the experience. Each family member is captured in their own world or watching the experiences of the others unfold.
1981, 53" x 33", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Spectators casually watch the hunt begin. As skaters race through the sand pursued by archaic horsemen, handlers patiently wait to release the aristocracy.
1975, 53" x 33", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Lavivrus is survival spelled in reverse. Two worlds in conflict. Each needing to adjust and adapt for both to survive. Arrogance could be a predominate factor but ultimately nature will have the final say.
1998, 24" x 18", Oil on Canvas
A desert traveller finds himself lost and wandering through a world that does not yet speak to him. He is quietly being observed by one who is comfortable with the strong emotions of this northern landscape. This painting was inspired by the works of A.J. Casson, a member of the Group of Seven. The scenery is Lake Joseph, Muskoka, Ontario.
IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT
2009, 28" x 22", Oil on Canvas - Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Canada - Permanent Art Collection
I was inspired to do this painting by a photograph. The photo was a haunting image a young Afghan girl standing before a burned out Russian tank. It was taken by my dear friend, Mike Frastacky, two years before he was murdered by the Taliban for funding and building a school for the children of the village of Nahrin in Northern Afghanistan.
1976, 54" x 26", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
Even in an environment that invites the unknown, this space is more alien than expected. Man's imaginary kingdom dissolves before his eyes.
THE MODEL MAKER
1987, 24" x 18", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection
The inspiration for the The Model Maker originated with the intimate interior scenes of 17th century Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer and the artist Robert Vanderhorst's fascination with the technology of aviation. In a scene reminiscent of Vermeer's Astronomer (1688), the unexpected placement of an F-86 Sabre jet floating gently above the tabletop creates a quiet tension in the painting and asks how time, technology and the artist coexist.
1999, 10" x 14", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
In the secluded confines of the monastery, there is a desire for clarity. A need to keep life simple and communications more direct. Amid imprisoned memories and a structure built on a foundation of confused perspective, there are reminiscences of the illustrations of M.C. Escher.
2000, 28" x 20", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
The scene takes place on a winter's day in the old port town of Chania, Crete. The bronze sentinel and the matriarch watch and stand guard. Not everything is obvious, witness the second seagull.
Where is the threat and from what direction should we be wary.
The painting was inspired by the sculpture The Sentinel by Paul Fairley and photographs of old Crete by Alison Smith.
1999, 20" x 16", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
In a tranquil cove, a woman captures a sparkle of light and gently cradles it in the palm of her hand. As the light is presented to her companion, the atmosphere around them becomes buoyant, anticipating the wish that will soon follow.
WHISPERS BENEATH THE STONE
1996, 20" x 16", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
Rocks hover and drift above the shoreline and water is draped like a silk ribbon over the skeleton of an old white pine. An unusual seagull takes flight as history begins to whisper from the granite shield below.
VIEW FROM THE GALLERY - Part One
1995, 20" x 16", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
A cat stares intently as a gallery patron takes a closer look. In an attempt to see the art from the inside, his head slowly disappears into the canvas. One person has become lost and struggles to peer back through an empty frame. The cows simply accept the art without question and move freely throughout the exhibition.
VIEW FROM THE GALLERY - Part Two
1995, 20" x 16", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
As his head emerges from the canvas, the art patron is confronted by the artist and his imagination. The patron is relaxed, takes time to absorb the surroundings and enjoys what he sees. As a result, he becomes comfortable with the other side and now knows that he can arrive and return whenever he wishes.
76”x 51”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD Private Collection.
A present day F-16 is being relentlessly pursued by a vintage WWII B-25. This technological miss match becomes more confusing as the pilot begins to realize that he will never escape his adversary.
1997, 24" x 12", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
The violinist plays a seductive tune not unlike the wind through a white pine. With his music, he slowly becomes part of the northern landscape around him. The melody is captivating and all who hear are gradually taken to another place.
Part of this scene is imagination and part is near the old cottage at East Bay, Lake Muskoka
1984, 54”x 36”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
The B-25 Vanderhorst trademark. A subtle and often hidden image of this aircraft appears in most of the surreal paintings done since ‘Countervail’ in 1977. The fuselage is part of a jigsaw puzzle. An underlying theme that continually runs though Vanderhorst’s imagery.
NOTHING EVER HAPPENS IN HEAVEN
2013, 48" x 32", Oil on Canvas
Nothing Ever Happens in Heaven - Title inspired by the Talking Heads song, Heaven.
2002/03, 24" x 48", Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
A pictorial history of the Burgess family at their cottage on Lake Joseph, Ontario, from the late 1800's to the present day.
The boat is a step hull Ditchburn Viking built in Muskoka, Ontario in 1929 for Mr. Fred Burgess and Mowitza is the name of a fawn from an old native story.
The inspiration for the painting came from many old photographs and a childhood vision.
42. LOST - 2016, 48" x 22", Oil on Canvas. This painting explores the concept of choice. The choices we're presented, the ones we make, the ones we don't and the ones that are made for us. Through these choices, we can either find our way or we can be ‘LOST’. Two divers, who know each other from past adventures, find themselves in an unlikely environment swimming down an empty country road next to a farmer's field. The scenery is bleak and grey with the only colour being a hint of silvery purple on the distant tree branches. The corn field next to the road had been long since been hacked down. Snow fills the furrows and the remaining bleached grasses at the roadside crackle as the wind shakes off thin shards of ice. A light snow is falling. One of the divers notices a series of repetitive rectangular shapes running along the tree line and begins heading across the field towards them. A set of doorways come into focus through the cold mist. The other diver stops, hovering above the dirt road. He's confronted by a foreboding black carriage with two harnessed horses standing before him, motionless. The diver stares directly ahead and is transfixed by the stars in the universe that envelopes the darkness of the horse's head. Where am I he wonders? What direction should I go?
44” x 28”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.
Lake Joseph, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
HIGH VIEW - Milford Bay, Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
44” x 20”, Oil on Canvas - SOLD - Private Collection.