Originally from New Mexico, Los Angeles-based artist Brian Robertson includes cacti in his recent paintings as a metaphor for the desert pastoral culture of his youth. “I’m fascinated with the idea of culture as an operating system for our minds,” he explains. “The cactus portraits are my way of conveying that my ‘reality’ and the decisions I make are often unconsciously influenced by a cultural lens I inherited, as well as other experiential and biological biases.”
In his recent show, “Imaginary Friends,” Robertson imagines his friends with cacti as heads—painting them hyper-realistically in black and white acrylic on wood. “The idea being to every friend, there is a part of knowing that person that is objective or ‘real,’ and there is a part that is imagined or subjective, and the two states existing together is closer to felt reality. This is also how vision works, what we see is a combination of what is actually being picked up by our eyes and what is referred to as an ‘internal model’ developed by our brains. Reality is always a conversation with what is and what you’re able to perceive.”
See more from “Imaginary Friends” below!