Bermudian Robert Bassett’s artwork is “inspired by vivid dreams”


Bermudian artist Robert Bassett’s latest exhibition—aptly named “The Journey of the Dream”—was on view until early January at the Rick Faries Gallery in Bermuda. Jessie Moniz Hardy (The Royal Gazette) writes:

When Robert Bassett started showing his artwork 40 years ago, people were baffled. Pink cottages and seascapes were the norm; he was painting figures with elongated necks and exaggerated facial features. Critics called his work “childlike” and “untrained” even though he created them using his degrees in art and sociology.

A lot has changed since then. When his show The Journey of the Dream opened at Masterworks this month, paintings priced at $8,500 flew off the walls. “I’ve had to replace several paintings in the show,” said the 64-year-old. “People understand my work a lot better today and are very supportive.”

Regardless of whether he thought the piece would sell or not, he has always painted to please himself.

“Living on an island, sometimes I feel pressure to paint what the tourists might want to buy,” he said. “But when I try to paint to sell, rather than painting what I want to paint, that’s when I experience difficulty.”

His work is inspired by his night dreams, hence the show name, Journey of the Dream. “I dream in such vivid colours that I struggle to recapture them when I’m awake,” he said. “Sometimes my dreams are like aeroplanes waiting to take off. They are there until I get around to painting them. They don’t fade from my mind.”

[. . .] His last show was in 2012 at the Ace Gallery. He’s shown around the world: at the Museum of African Art in California, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta and at the Agora gallery and the Montauk Club in New York. He maintained a day job throughout his arts career. [. . .]

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