Despite Virtosu being an abstract artist, most of his works are known to possess highly specific topics, themes, and directions. “Dreams Rider”, however, is one of his most complex and open-ended works as the painter allows us to run our imagination wild while offering a few subtle clues about his original intention and vision.
The central figure of this piece evidently bears the shape of a horse’s face, and this detail is accentuated with the help of a mask on the horse, providing evidence that this is, in fact, a racehorse. The concept of a “Dream Rider” comes into play when we examine the figure behind the racehorse’s face. This shadow-double, although appearing to resemble another racehorse, is actually the jockey straddling the beast. This is marked by a helmet-like form that is placed atop the pillion racehorse’s face, thereby offering an indication to the audience that this is a jockey. The idea of this piece is highly conceptual and takes us into the mind of a professional people seldom think about. We are clearly peering through the dreams of a race jockey and witnessing his descent into self-doubt and insecurities. Having worked so closely with an animal that is clearly highly intelligent as well, the jockey begins to question his own humanity in his unconscious mind and begins to view himself as another intelligent animal vying for the attention of the larger crowd.
This incredibly lateral piece is bursting with meaningful interpretations, as one could easily place themselves inside the dreams of the “rider”. The dark and the hypnotic navy blue background are nearly radiating because of the highlighted figure, creating the perfect enclosure for this otherworldly creation.