666 Series | 2007


Charcoal on 80lb Canson Paper
20” x 26” each
Installation view @ Birch/Libralato Gallery

In his essay from the catalogue 567:Economies of Good & Evil, curator Steven Matijcio writes:

"Like a pilgrim in search of an elusive relic, Robertson located all the houses in south-western Ontario with the address #666 to defy superstition, and to make charcoal rubbings of each sign in the style of tombstone tracings. In the process, he subtracted all detail outside the store-bought numbers and their immediate ground – entering each mark into an ambivalent push/pull contest between objectified possession and abstract semiotic play. Inscribing and obscuring the referent at once, Robertson normalizes this set of numbers to then “re-consecrate” them by way of commercial treatment. Transforming each into a sign in the style of Ed Ruscha or John Baldessari, he turns the processes of their making against one another – pitting the endearing human touch of his rubbings against the impersonal glamorization of commercial sign making. In between, amidst the multiplicity of meanings circulating inside this symbolic vessel, Robertson playfully (but poignantly) updates this “brand” to emphasize its all too fitting reflection of the advertising industry. With a bold face and epic stage presence, the mark of the beast becomes a symbol of superficial pageantry – grandly selling an ambiguous product with uncertain meaning and waning human import. Inside the diminution of distance that (Walter) Benjamin heralded in mass production, Robertson “captures” this transcendental idea, multiplies it, and brings it into the grasp of the everyman. At the door of supposedly epitomic evil, he turns the 666 brand into a vivid, but vacant, house selling inflated meaning that it fails to inhabit.”