Walter Robinson’s paintings from the Romance Series were first shown at Metro Pictures in the 1980s. The works are brilliantly-colored, deftly-painted illustrations that, as described by the artist, are “of people kissing, romance, beautiful women, strong men and desire…the act of putting paint on canvas was an intimate act suited well to depicting intimate acts.” A little bit Neo-Expressionist and a little bit Post-Modern, the paintings represent a search for authentic subjectivity by an appeal to something “hard-wired” or “innate.” Robinson used a “pop format” or “image bank” that seemed to be in danger of disappearing: the illustrations for covers of pulp paperbacks dating back to the early 1950s. Many of the paintings are blissful images of “l’amour fou” or suggest a generalized erotic delirium. Others show couples fighting or women resisting male assaults (typically with a small automatic!) in addition to images of comfort and protection.
Robinson’s other exhibitions at Metro Pictures have included paintings that “took up the theme of desire and authenticity…using straightforward illustrative styles of painting”—portraits of everyday products, his small daughter, her toys, still lives of alcoholic beverages and spin paintings.