As Robert Shirk hung his paintings on the gallery walls in Arts on Granada, he took a moment and stepped back to see how the light hit the 3-D pieces made with multi-layered Plexiglas.
“The work that I have requires some strong lighting, so you can see the shadows of the dots,” he said. “It’s tough during the day with reflections. But at night, with a good light, it’s awesome.”
In the 1970s, Shirk started painting on both sides of clear Plexiglas, realizing its potential for experimentation. His paintings became more figurative after falling in love with his future wife in the mid-1980s. After a 30-year stint running a marketing company, the Ormond Beach artist returned to painting a year and a half ago. Now, his work takes a more literal representation of people, specifically the human face, with a few cat portraits added to the mix.
“When I started painting again, I was like, ‘Why limit to one sheet (of Plexiglas)? Why not do more than one sheet?’” Shirk said.
One of his favorite pieces, a portrait of Benoit Glazer, a conductor and multi-instrumentalist, took him about 100 hours of labor.
“The painting moves as you move around the painting,” Shirk said. “This is done by putting a part of the painting on each layer of the Plexiglas. Each layer has a separate part of the final image.”
Shirk and his wife moved from South Florida to Halifax Plantation in 2012. He has established art connections in Orlando, but is now setting his sights on the east coast of Florida.
Shirk was declared Artist of the Week for the first week on January, by Ed Herbst, president of the Associates of the Orlando Museum of Art. He competed in three juried art show exhibitions in four days there, and won the “Best in Show” award at the Orlando Museum of Art “Art of the Selfie” juried exhibition.
At 65, Shirk is getting ready to showcase his exhibit at Arts Granada from Feb. 27 to March 4. A meet-the-artist reception will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Arts on Granada, 67 W. Granada Blvd.
Shirk said he hopes the show, which features Orlando artist Ronda Richley’s “Garden of Eden” ceramics, will make Ormond Beach residents more aware of his work.
Visit robertshirk.com/gallery/videos/videos.html to see how Shirk brings his 3-D works to life.