For the first time at the Culture Crawl I’m offering a limited edition print of one of my paintings, Rush Hour. There will be only 10 in the edition, 10 x 10 inches on archival paper with archival inks. A framed sample beautifully put together by Fine Art Framing will be on display in my studio. I will be taking orders for this and a few other limited editions also available at a price point that allows for affordable gift-giving, for a loved one, or for yourself!
Also available: A 50-page book of select paintings from twelve years of my Tourist series.
As well you will find six new paintings, and a drypoint print, Syon House Interior that I recently re-discovered in my print portfolio, along with some framed 7 x 7 inch 3-colour pencil crayon drawings.
Below are images of a work shown in progress through to completion, of the Porcelain Dining Room in the Chateau de Versailles. It’s a commission I’ve enjoyed making for a private home near Toronto. The wide panoramic format was pieced together from individual photographs I took from a trip in France a number of years ago. I remember going through the chateau twice, the second pass offered a satisfying, golden afternoon light. The composition reminds me of the forced perspective one observes on the virtual tours of museum websites.
Blocking in always begins with big brushes, to locate everything and establish colour family and main values. The next step in the painting is to use smaller brushes and go in for specifics of detail, sharpening edges and creating stronger focal points. I want the viewer to feel immersed in the space, with lots to encourage the eye to keep meandering, discovering new subtleties and maybe even surprises. It’s important to me that a painting unfold for the viewer slowly, to withstand the test of time.
In the final session something happened that wasn’t planned. Here’s the finished piece with its new title, Mantlepiece with Talking Objects (Versailles).
Working with the warm colors of the parquet flooring, gilding, and marble, really helped energize the gray days of winter.
If Jonathan Adler had listened to his pottery professor at art school, he would have quit being an artist and got a job as a lawyer. Luckily for us, he didn’t take her advice. Instead, he parlayed his wacky and shameless ideas into a hugely successful design career.
Everyone else may have already seen this, but since I don’t have cable, I just discovered Adler and his book My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living in the library on the weekend. Along with images of his delicious and uplifting designs, he peppers humorous anecdotes and strong opinions throughout the book. Below is an excerpt with Adler’s take on the contemporary artworld today, and his philosophy on design.
“When I look at the artworld today, I get pretty depressed. I think that somewhere along the way, people were tricked into believing that art has to be incomprehensible and skill-free and ugly. I totally reject that idea. I want my work to be communicative and beautiful and, I hope, impactful on an emotional level before an intellectual level.”
Jonathan and his talented window-dresser husband live happily together with their dog, Liberace.
Chris Dorosz is a painter who is pushing the work off the canvas and out into the space of the gallery. One might think of George Seurat’s divisionist/pointillist works when viewing Chris’ update on the traditional interior. Chris states:
The Painted Room is a three-dimensional recreation of my parent’s living room made out of splotches of acrylic paint on hung monofilament. Benjamin’s quote is especially true for me; growing up as the only son in a military family, our living room was packed and unpacked innumerable times – becoming a depository of memory.
In walking around his pieces, one becomes aware of the space between atoms, the ephemerality of our existence on a molecular level. Breathtaking and poignant, Dorosz’s work was exhibited recently at ICA in San Jose, California.
Learning to drywall has been interesting, but let’s get to the art part already! It’s taken me three weeks to tear down my studio and set up the new one, and I’m worried I will soon have forgotten how to paint.
Monday: paint all the walls white.
Tuesday: mop up the dust, open up my beloved art supplies, and begin the shift back into painting mode. A big part of painting is the time spent thinking about them.
I’ve also been pondering furnishings. Now that there’s the space for it, I can have more fun decorating! I’d love to have a chandelier like the one at left found at Hampstead Village Guesthouse in London, but items like these are rather scarce in Vancouver, and likely way beyond my price range. Meanwhile, across the hall from me, Eszter Burghardt let me sit in her comfy Ikea chair. Only fifty bucks, and great for taking a break from hours of standing.
In a public art project by Instant Coffee, our usually ad-wrapped buses have been given a fabulous warm blankie instead, and are they ever fun to look at! Thanks guys, it helps break up the gray days of winter. A review of the project by Robin Laurence is in this week’s Georgia Straight.
“Voyages en Zigzag” is the working title to my next show, which will be in November 2009 at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Toronto. This time, instead of working from photographs from my travels, I will stay at home (this is the era of a new restraint, n’est-ce pas?) and collect jpegs from friends and acquaintances in my computer’s Inbox. It’s exciting to see a big download coming through the internet line, a good indication that some new, delicious images from someone’s holidays are about to land.
Just received some nice photos from my pals Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, (shameless name-dropping) who have become quite the jet-setters with animation festivals and such. I also have been fortunate to get permission to use the photos of a quantum physicist who posted his delicious images of Russian palaces on Flickr. I love the notion of a guy who deals in particle theory sending me pixels of objects through the World Wide Web, and then me translating them into paint.
Painters today can do anything they want–witness the work of Gerhard Richter, Gillian Carnegie, and Thrush Holmes.We can choose any subject– the banal, the everyday, the ugly, or (gasp!) beautiful images that people might even want to put on their walls. In my painting practice, I aim to convey the pleasures of looking, and, without irony, I propose that optimism is a viable impetus for painting. Hence the name of this blog.