I am delighted to announce my solo show, PRESENT/IMPERFECT, at Fortune Gallery in Victoria, BC, Canada.
Please join me for the opening on Thursday, November 17 from 6:00-9:00pm. The show runs from November 15 - December 3 2022.
Present Imperfect is an exploration into what it means to paint a figurative portrait, particularly that of a woman. It is an exercise in duality: abstract vs representational, of traditional vs contemporary, specific vs universal. By shedding possible attachment to representational qualities, can the painting become more honest, more piercing, and even more real?
Present imperfect: a grammatical tense which presents the action in the present as continuous, not yet over. I aim to break free of the static pose, the one moment in time, in pursuit of the continuous. Each model and painting has a central fulcrum that represent a solid core — the essence of the individual person. However, as each individual has several capabilities and facets to their personality, choosing only one pose to portray them, as if representative of the individual, is limiting. Instead, each painting is a composite of multiple poses from the same model, all grounded and centred on the axis of the fulcrum. This fulcrum also serves to unite the image visually by providing a sense of aesthetic stability. While abstracted, the painting is grounded by its representational quality. This requires a process of constant decision-making, since the final image does not exist in reality; what parts to pull forward and push back, what areas to highlight or obliterate.
My art education took place in a traditional atelier; drawing was always the foundation of a solid painting, and I learned by studying the masters. In this series, I strive to advance my art practice by respecting – indeed, holding dear – traditional master techniques and materials but opposing, perhaps inversing, the traditional idea of the muse. Each figure is painted in isolation, without narrative. By stripping the painting of a narrative, the viewer must confront the nude with little context and will thereby confront their own views and opinions on the nude human figure and, ideally, women.
Models are integral to my work. I revel in getting to know the visible, physical qualities that capture a likeness, and the intangible energy that projects a personality. While compelled by the specifics, I also find connection in universality. These works exist in the area between specific and universal. While they are unequivocally a depiction of an individual, they go beyond representation by abstracting that individual. The model might still be recognizable to those who know them, but the image can also connect with viewers through an overarching sense of humanity. In their abstraction, the work ceases to be strictly a portrait, and yet the figure never takes on a sense of being generic.
In Present Imperfect, I strive for a type of honesty that lives in the space between representational rendering and expressionism. Painted skin becomes tactile, two dimensions create the illusion of a third, a static image takes on movement. The purpose is not to achieve equilibrium in duality, but rather to continually test its balance.
I'm pleased to share that my painting "Voyage" (2021, oil on linen, 213.4 X 221 cm / 84 X 87 in diptych) is in the upcoming WOMAN show at James Baird Gallery. Opening Saturday October 22 2022 from 2:00-5:00, the show has work from over 40 painters in over 20 countries.
I'm pleased to announce that "Centre" (oil on linen, 198.1 X 114.3 cm / 78 X 45 in.) will be showing in "Visage", a portrait-themed exhibition at Rockslide Gallery in Victoria, BC.
The opening coincides with their open house on September 24 from 2:00-8:00. It'll be a great event - don't miss it!
The exhibit runs until November 2022.
Exhibition Opening September 23rd at 7pm. Artists and an ASL interpreter will be in attendance.
Artist panel discussion September 24 at 12:00 noon.
Figurative art can be a form of claiming your space, whatever your space may be. Creating a presence - or even an absence of presence. The viewer is forced to acknowledge the presence of the figure, the person.
Historically, artists like Alexandre Cabanel like to paint aesthetically pleasing things, and that is extended to the figures, hence the “the male gaze”. Think of the many historical paintings in which the youthful woman is the focal subject, often for the rich, male patron of the artist.
Contemporary figurative art has broken away from the powerful, the rich, the white man, or the beautiful, flawless maiden as a subject, but incorporating the contemporary world we live in, full of diversity. Black, Indigenous, Asian, queer, body positive and/or disabled figures are spotlighted.
Leading the dialogue with the public on contemporary figurative art is guest curator Laurie M. Landry, and featuring the works by A.J. Brown, Sára Molčan, Annette Nieukerk and Nicole Sleeth.