2009 Paintings

The influence of Road Movies.

In recent years I have become more and more interested in the way that cinema references painting and painting cinema.  This is hardly surprising as many notable film directors are products of art schools.


I became interested in the allegorical use of cars in film; two cars in particular recur, the Ford Thunderbird and the Cadillac Coup de Ville.  These cars have been used symbolically from the mid fifties in both European and American films to represent freedom, rebellion, journeys of self discovery etc.  They are also closely linked to the genre of the road movie.  This genre has its roots in spoken and written tales of epic journeys going back to the origins of western literature,The Oddyssey and The Aeneid.


The road movie is to film makers what the heroic quest was to medieval writers.  Road films have a standard plot device in which the hero changes, grows or improves over the course of the journey.  They traditionally end in one of four ways.

  • Having realised as a result of the journey they can never return home, they choose death or are killed.
  • A new home is found at the end of the journey.
  • The journey never ends
  • After a triumphant arrival they return home wiser for their experience.

The films tend to be episodic in structure, in each episode a challenge is met, not always successfully, or a truth revealed.  They become a metaphor for a life lived with all its joys and heartaches.


My paintings reference road films and are linked to autobiography attempting to describe a psychological state of mind rather than illustrate a narrative event.

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© Robert Stuart