Early in my development as an artist, I had the good fortune to encounter that seminal text: ‘The Poetics of Space’ by the modern French philosopher/ phenomenologist Gaston Bachelard. The underlying sub-text: “the house as universe” spoke ‘not’ of a ‘horizontal’ (thus, modern, apartment-like > rootless existence)… but on the idea of an intricately well designed, spacious house that begins with a deep labyrinthine cellar or a structurally sound (poetically rich) sense of firm rootedness. The ‘house’ is likened to an ancient magnificent tree – ever rising and extending ‘vertically’ through the floors of the house and up to the attic – or the place of deepest dreaming – the top-most branches penetrating the clouds. Within the house, one can experience an endless interplay of both macrocosmic and microcosmic space. This could be found by examining the contents inside a chest of draws… the spiraling grand design of a seashell or winding staircase… stepping inside and getting lost within a painting… or witnessing the perennial dance of shadows and light as they slowly play across a room.
Throughout the history of my creative output – whether it be my ongoing work in ‘Sacred Art’: ikonic mixed-media constructions (wall pieces)… drawings… or photography – all share this common philosophical/ aesthetic thread. For me, photography is a continual exercise in waking up to awareness. There is so much beauty, ideas, dreams that continually float around us all of the time – yet, unless consciously recognized and ‘set into image’ – disappear, until presenting themselves again at some later time. I am interested capturing fleeting shadows on a wall that magically flicker like dying embers in the fireplace… whole worlds wondrously distorted and found within reflected metal… or, the organically rich density of imagined landscapes conjured up through a variety means: lighting situations, translucent/ opaque materials, the interplay of objects and odd angle juxtapositions…. I seek to create images that are deeply poetic, otherworldly or transformed and that I pray would serve to transport (surprise and delight) the viewer.
I have found these photographic exercises in ‘waking to awareness’ to have been particularly nurturing and fruitful during this rather strange unprecedented time of imposed lockdown due to the pandemic. They keep me focused, grounded and rooted in creative dialogue with myself as I allow for nature from the outside world to seep into and penetrate my solitary living space.
* Born and raised in the Inwood section of northern Manhattan, New York City… Robert Eustace attributes his eventual ‘calling’ in Art to various central roots: playtime in the surrounding Park Systems ‘primeval wilderness’; discovering mystery and wonder amongst the art, fragrances and shadows found within a traditional catholic church and by extension, frequent visits to the nearby Cloisters Museum – (a complete monastic setting constructed from various ancient architectural shards gathered from across the face of Europe). Lastly, being mentored by the primitive expressionist painter Peter Dean (1934-93). The work of Robert Eustace evokes a mysticism of memory and yearning for the transcendent. *