Vivid, 2014, Oil on Panel, 36 x 36 in.
Dropping Water Lake III, 2014, Oil on Panel, 36 x 36 in.
Clearly Kendal Kendrick is already thinking about summer despite there still being snow on the ground here in Vancouver. Her vivid rendition of leisurely summertime pursuits brings the good vibrations no matter what colour the sky is. Whether you wish you were down at Yaletown harbour or gently bobbing on Okanagan Lake Kendal hopes her meditative realisations of one of her favourite pastimes transports you gently down the stream to sometime later in July preferably.
Lost Highway 61, 2008, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 48 in.
Night Watch 3am, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 20 x 34 in.
Waiting on Daylight, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 16 x 32 in.
Peter Harris’ work is the stuff of everyday life. His paintings resonate with the emptiness and fullness of the vast landscape. By illustrating late night scenes of trucker stops, dimly lit motels, or lonesome stretches of highway, Harris’ paintings have a certain reverence for the stories embedded within the commonplace, a tenebristic brand of average Canadiana. By doing this, Harris contributes to the expansion of the landscape genre, distinctly diverging from the foundations laid by the Group of Seven of representing Canada as a vast, rugged, untouched landscape and zeroes in on our modern day relationship with it.
His imagery places a keen focus on sites of human industry where during the day, the hum of activity would define the landscape. In Harris’ mind the wilderness seems to exist in spite of the country, it remains where it is, what makes a country are the people who work everyday at their respective jobs, keeping the industrial train, the energy behind what we call Canada rolling ever forward. In his choice of locations and his focus on the night-time Harris captures the silence, the sense of freedom and wilderness in the midst of urbanity - a momentary respite from our sisyphusian lives.
Love, Oil on Canvas
Valentine Heart, Oil on Canvas
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Mountains in Twilight, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 60 in.
The Broughtons - Safe Haven, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40 in.
The tradition of North American landscape painting emerged from the mythic tales of pioneers who ventured forth into the wilderness in search of the unknown. The most effective way to communicate the sublimity of what they saw was by bringing back images. Rather than cart around expensive, heavy camera equipment, they would sketch. Months, maybe years later upon returning to the studio, the artist would synthesize their experience through a painterly expression of form, colour and pictorialism. The Hudson River School painters enjoyed great success for their ability to capture vast panoramas in their imagery, returning to the cities with their canvasses to offer people a glimpse of what lay in the great beyond. The North American landscape had a magnetic allure which drew artists to capture a piece of it for themselves. Behind each of these paintings there is a story, an artist, an explorer, trying to grasp an understanding of self in the midst of an immense, indifferent biosphere. Defined by the Transcendentalist movement, the mythos of North America as a vast untouched wilderness captured the public imagination and came to embody the spirit of the 19th and early 20th century. The idea that there were fertile lands in the west with fortunes to be made from literally digging gold out of the hillside, created a movement, a sense of North American intrepidity that carries through to this day.
In many respects, contemporary landscape painting is an acknowledgement of this tradition and an effort to carry forth the spirit of this bygone era. Our own Joel Mara is a sort of modern day explorer - having recently embarked on a week long kayak trip with his friends, venturing to the northern tip of Vancouver Island seeking rugged, relatively uninhabited archipelagos. His latest piece The Broughtons - Safe Haven is a snapshot of a little inlet where their group rested after one of them capsized from the waves. Scrambling, they found a place where they could dry out his supplies and warm him up to avoid almost certain hypothermia. After spending four hours in this uncomfortable craggy haven the group set off again in search of somewhere to spend the night.
Midtown, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 60 in.
Crosstown I, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 60 in.
Silver Hush, 2013, Oil on Linen, 30 x 60 in.
Heavy and Light, 2013, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 48 in.
We are pleased to welcome Vancouver based artist Aldyne Myara, our latest addition to the gallery. She is an Emily Carr graduate whose work specializes in capturing the tones of atmospheric light that suspend themselves in the misty air and turbulent sea of our moody west coast. Her enchantment with waves has formed itself into a deep focus on the subject - becoming abstract and meditative through their composition and rendering. Her paintings connote a form of west coast spirituality, accessible in the endless barrage of waves crashing on the shore. Myara’s paintings have a delicate, textural quality about them that don’t resort to impressionism, but through the tasteful use of spray and drips, suggest themselves as self aware painterly representations of a sensuous natural experience that wash soothingly over their viewer.
Winter Trail I, 2014, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 60 in.
Winter Trail II, 2014, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 60 in.
Judy Cheng’s reputation in the arts community has grown such that her name has become eponymous with this particular aesthetic. Under the tutelage of local legend Gordon Smith, Cheng has developed her own voice - making paintings that defy simple categorizations. Taking cues from historical Chinese notions of eliminating a single privileged perspective - she indiscriminately covers the canvas with paint, allowing for a balance of delicate control and vigorous mark-making to inform each other throughout the process.
What results is a careful blend of clutter and space - Cheng works her surface until an amicable balance is achieved - searching for that abstract sense of harmony until she is able to put her brush down. This sensibility is what draws people to her work, some are immediately struck by it while others need time to absorb. The harmonizing of opposites are what creates the intrigue in her work and keeps it fresh for those fortunate enough to live with one. Every glance reveals a new pattern, a new colour, a new understanding of the space as you slowly come to realize what her painting is trying to communicate.
Mountain Valley, 2012, Oil on Canvas
Dawn Chorus, 2012, Oil on Panel
The substance of painting- ie. form and colour are placed front and center in Vancouver based painter Kristofir Dean’s work. By painting in vivid, opaque stripes of colour Dean does away with notions of representation and places the onus on the colours and their relationships as the sole purveyor of subject matter.
Taking cues from post-impressionist theory, Dean explores the possibilities and subtleties of tone and hue in a decidedly unsubtle fashion. Colours on their own are one thing, but when placed next to each other they begin to enter into a dialogue. Yellows, when placed next to purples, and greens next to reds start to shimmer in relation to their counterpart, highlighting the simultaneous harmony and dissonance of opposites. Similarly, the placement of a pink next to a blue or brown beside orange takes on different meanings and associations that become embedded in our subconscious. By bringing this topic to the forefront of his practice, Dean reminds us to be aware of our cognitive and emotional responses to colour and the way it shapes our understanding of the world.
Ribbons in Her Hair, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 18 x 18 in.
Looking at the modern trajectory of the great painters who dealt with the human form, Malcolm Liepke’s thick, rich canvasses of sensual femininity fit comfortably in the present timeline. Manet, John Singer Sargent, Otto Dix, Lucian Freud, and Jenny Saville are the backbone of figurative art history that inform Liepke’s work. While decidedly contemporary, Liepke’s use of reference to this tradition creates a sense of timelessness, forming a bridge between art of the past and the present.
Liepke’s works reinforce the importance of painting in our present-day because they succeed in illustrating the intangible relationships and energies between people. The cold machinations of the camera do not express, they simply function. Liepke’s paintings form that human connection, his brush acting as the liason, transfixing the viewer with the piercing feminine gaze of his subject. Made evident in his paintings is the immediacy of the artistic inclination to represent the human spirit in a very direct, one might say confrontational manner. Though the women he portrays suggest elements of voyeurism, Liepske’s deft handling of paint allows their personality to radiate through their returned gaze, placing the emphasis on their humanity and grace.
Malcolm Liepke’s work has graced the covers of Time, Forbes and Fortune. His paintings are now in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Brooklyn Museum as well as the collections of Heinz, Atlantic Records, CBS, ABC, AT&T and Mobil. Visit the gallery for an exclusive Vancouver showing of six selected Malcolm Liepke paintings.