“Burnt Offering House, Taoist Temple, Hengyang City, China” by Robert Gilbert

The digital photographic image.
My images employ the concept of a personal mythology, a working visual language to tell one’s story. I often use a common, everyday object as an icon. A personal icon is like a button, hard and shiny on the mythological clothing that keeps us from the elements, the raw flux and flow of life. I’m interested in the classical world view, which did not see the same split between body and mind, dark and light as our present time. Divinity was thought to be immersed in all matter, so the substance of the world itself was divine. All phases of existence and all expressions had a place in daily life. An everyday household object can be thought of as containing an earthly divinity, which can be celebrated with the simple act of it’s use. Any work with a tool can be a ritual of sorts, and all labor puts one in alignment with the forces that are building the universe. Tools fill two functions within the unconscious, they either dig into the earth, metaphorically speaking, moving us closer to a union with our bodies, or they assist us in building up and away from the earth, captivating our minds.

Manual laboring devices imitate and extend the working of the body. The computer serves in a similar manner, empowering the imagination when it assists in constructing the digital image. Photographs are often the material to be worked in the digital process. Because of this alteration, it has been debated that the computer has subverted the truth of the photograph. A counter-argument asserts that the photographic image has never been completely true and carries the bias of the maker, no matter how subtle. The interaction of cameras and computers, with its fragmentation and layering of images has created an image that is a reflection of reality, perhaps a symbol of reality, and a working process that mimics the imagination. The altered photograph may help reinforce the notion that truth lays beyond contrived images, or is embedded in them.

size 20″ x 16″ x 1″
medium Digital Photographic Print
Price $350.00


Robert Gilbert is a graphic designer, digital artist and educator. He grew up in Santa Barbara, California, raised in a house that his father build in the hills above the city, where rows of olive trees from Spanish plantations still grow. The Spanish colonial nature of the town, its colors and rustic surfaces were a strong influence to his early work as a painter. He graduated from the Otis Parson’s Art Institute in Los Angeles and received a masters degree from California State University in Los Angeles. Robert has worked in varied design environments such as the entertainment, health, and garment industries. His experience ranges from advertising to publication and he works to refine a visual approach that combines the surprise of commercialism within fine art design. His personal work uses the digital image, employing the concept of a personal mythology. He has shown his work nationally and internationally. Robert has taught and worked as a designer in Greece, and he is an Honorary Professor at Hangyang Normal University in China. He is an Associate Professor at University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, working in the boarder region of south Texas.

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