My figurative paintings are created on multiple sheets of layered plexiglass. Each sheet of clear plexiglass contains a part of the final image. The effect creates a 3 dimensional kinetic painting that moves and changes as the viewer’s perspective changes.
I’ve been influenced by the 1960’s optical and kinetic art of Israeli artist Yaacov Agam. Also the French Pointillist painters of the 1880’s, American photorealist painter Chuck Close, and the dramatic lighting of Dutch master Rembrandt van Ryan.
My aesthetic focus is to create an image of drama, beauty and sensuality. Not just with the subject matter, but with the composition, materials and application of color. An image that is fun to view with unexpected surprises.
I love watching the dance and delight of the viewers eyes wile discovering the movement, harmony and depth created by layer upon layer of images in my paintings. I am constantly reinventing the way I create images. Always searching for a playful bridge between the 3 dimensions of sculpture, and the 2 dimensions of painting.
Robert Clayton Shirk was born in Tarrytown New York in 1952 and grew up in South Florida. The product of a broken marriage, Robert visited his artist father's Manhattan studio during holidays and summer vacations. Art had become a frequent form of release and escape from daily adolescent torment.
As a junior in college he needed a break from his business studies and took an elective course in design. Falling in love again with his first passion, he finished college in 1977 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During college Robert won "Best in Show" awards in various student art shows and was selected into and received an ‘Honorable Mention’ award in the 1976 "Bicentennial American Painters In Paris" show in Paris, France. During this time, Robert’s paintings were created on both sides of clear plexiglass. He found it's transparent flat surface perfect for depicting his hard edge surrealistic landscapes.
For the next 10 years Robert was selling in South Florida galleries, and being commissioned for his paintings. He was also working part time as a graphic designer with various advertising agencies. Putting down his paintbrush in 1987, Robert got married and took a full time job as Art Director at a Coral Springs agency. Five years later in 1992 he started a successful marketing business that he ran with his wife for 23 years. In 2015, a couple of years after moving to North East Florida, Robert sold his business and was free to go back to his roots and paint.
Since coming back to painting, Robert’s artwork has become more figurative and uses multiple sheets of layered plexiglass along with exotic papers. Each sheet of clear plexiglass contains a part of the final image. The effect creates a 3 dimensional kinetic image that moves and changes as the viewer’s perspective changes.
2018 has started with a bang for Mr. Shirk. He competed in three juried art show exhibitions in 4 days. The week started out with Robert winning the 'Best in Show' award at the Orlando Museum of Art 'Art of the Selfie' juried exhibition. The very next day Robert Shirks painting 'Fernanda Ly' received an award at the Saint Augustine Artist Association juried exhibit 'Faces & Figures'. Two days later his painting 'Paradise Tami' received an award at the Art League of Daytona Beach juried exhibit 'Members Showcase 2018'. These achievements were enough to be declared 'Central Florida Artist of the Week' for the first week of January 2018, by Ed Herbst, President of the Associates of the Orlando Museum of Art.