I am participating in two group exhibitions this month — the first up is with the George Billis Gallery, a show featuring gallery artists in Manhattan. My contribution is shown here in the gallery window.
And quickly followed by this exhibition is the same typewriter composed face-in instead of birds-eye with the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, North Carolina.
This invitational exhibition features study paintings shown alongside the fully realized larger version. The Robert Lange Studios always have interesting ideas for exhibitions.
I am happy to share the news that I will be exhibiting some new paintings in New York City — the paintings go up from May 24 to June 11, 2022. The George Billis Gallery has a space at The High Line Nine Gallery at 507 West 27th Street for the summer.
If you are familiar with my work and have been following the progress for some time, you’ll see a new direction in some of the paintings. It would be about 14 or 15 years ago that I painted in “black” — and I have to say that I find it refreshing to take my favourite subjects and breath new life into them.
After several months of steady work, I have completed 22 new paintings that I have started shipping to the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles for my upcoming solo exhibition that goes up on February 26 and runs through March 26. So you’ll be reading and seeing plenty from me now that the hard work is done.
I have been painting still life for over twenty years now. So much of what I do is honestly about making a balanced, crisp, clean composition of objects to entice the simple act of observation. I use the opportunity to paint to make something delightful and pleasing. Not only for myself but for other people to enjoy as well. I have always drawn my inspiration from the long-established still-life painting tradition, which was first introduced in the form we know today by the French painter Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin in the 18th century.
I could take a deep dive into the significance of Charin’s paintings to the world we live in, not just in art, but in all things, but I’ll spare you for now.
Instead, I want to show how I draw inspiration and remix the visuals he introduced centuries ago. His painting depicts “the attributes of the arts” — his palette and brushes on top of a box of paints, a plaster cast used to practice drawing, books with instructions and inspiration, and an award given to him for his accomplishments.
In my work, I use the propped books as Chardin did, but I have pencil crayons. Specifically, they are Laurentien pencil crayons which are an iconic part of a Canadian child’s early school experience. These were my introduction to the possibilities of art-making. My work is high-key (bright and airy) compared to the dark and shadowed Chardin visual world.
And here is the painting, varnished, framed and ready to ship to Los Angeles. Shown here along with another smaller painting (Trophy / 16 x 12 inches / oil on canvas / 2021) which is my nod to the rewarding life that painting has given me.
Imagine my delight when I walked into the York Art Gallery in England and saw my paintings hanging in the Aesthetica Art Prize 2020 exhibition. Amongst numerous conceptual installations, photographs and television screens all over the walls, there they were… my paintings.
The editor of Aesthetica is able to see the connections and she was able to instantly tune in to how my paintings act as a bridge to the contemporary art scene with what clearly are traditionally executed paintings.
I spent many years studying contemporary art. I majored in photography at university and I’m comfortable when surrounded by conceptual installations — in fact, I myself have produced many. In forthcoming posts, I will explain precisely what my intentions are with my paintings, but for now, enjoy these few photographs of the installation at the York Art Gallery by photographer Jim Poyner.
Leading up to March 13 opening of the exhibition in York, England was obviously a confusing situation. In my part of the world, everything was already entering COVID-19 shut-down, but the United Kingdom maintained the status quo and everything was set to go ahead as planned. I had the strongest feelings that I was getting my England excursion just under the wire. It turned out exactly as I had anticipated with the added anxiety about supposed travel bans and being trapped forever and far away from my family. It didn’t turn out that way. My travel days were fine, I enjoyed a free upgrade to a more comfortable seat as I flew home over the Atlantic. I am now in the midst of a self-quarantine along with millions and millions of others.
To be very honest, little has changed in my daily life. For a decade I have set myself up in my studio for months on end to concentrate on painting. Audiobooks, podcasts, music, streaming radio from around the world — I never feel isolated or alone. I know this is true of my fellow artists and has been true of artists for millennia.
So wherever you are, I hope you’re well, I hope you’re coping, I hope this passes soon and we can get a grip on what it all means.
I have a commission I’m working on, as well as several new paintings for a planned exhibition in New York City this coming September. We shall see how this pans out. Whatever the case is, I’m positive I’ll have a body of work I’m proud of in a few short months.
The George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles is operating an online version of my current exhibition, an alternative to going to the gallery during these strange times. The show technically is up until March 28. As an alternative to going to the gallery, please enjoy these photos of the installation, and see the remaining paintings on the gallery website.
I always enjoy watching people see the paintings in person. I like seeing the reactions, and hearing what people have to say. One day we’ll be living in a stable world where we can feel free to move into public spaces again. Until then, I’ll count my blessings.
I am very excited to announce that my work has been shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2020.
The renowned Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition returns this Spring, inviting audiences to discover and engage with new ideas from the next generation of talent. Hosted by the international art and culture publication Aesthetica Magazine, it redefines the parameters of contemporary art.
Since its establishment 13 years ago, the prize has provided a platform for artists from across the world, supporting and enhancing their careers through prize money, exhibition, publication and talent development, inviting leading jurors such as Sarah Allen, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern; Claire Catterall, Senior Curator, Somerset House; Damon Jackson-Waldock, Deputy Curator, Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Pierre Saurisse, Lecturer, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and Eliza Williams, Editor, Creative Review.
The 2020 exhibition includes 18 artists that respond to today’s key issues, unpacking the layers of digitalised, globalised world. It is an honour to have my work selected out of thousands of entries.
As Cherie Federico, Director of Aesthetica, notes: “This Prize reflects upon the global situation – actions, behaviours and developments that are changing society. These artists are responding to the world around us, offering genuine insight into how we can encourage positive change. I am privileged to have the opportunity to see and support so much talent.”
Audiences can see my Ampro Precision Projector painting and other selected works at the exhibition which runs March 13 – July 5 at York Art Gallery, United Kingdom.
I was again invited to participate in a big group exhibition at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina. Celebrating their 15th year in business, Everyone’s a Winner includes 40+ artists and will be on display during September. My contribution is The Pleasures of Life. Tap/click on the image for a closer look.
It is going to be a busy and productive fall and winter for me. I am setting up to work on several new paintings for my next solo exhibition which will be in Los Angeles in February/March 2020 at the George Billis Gallery LA.
First up we’ve got this set of cameras, just completed and set aside in the stockpile.
There will also be a few art fairs along the way before I head to LA for the show and I plan on having fresh work for them as well. I’ve got my work cut out for me.
May 3 is the opening day fora group exhibition called “Perfectionists” at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina. Check out my contribution to the show below.
When I was invited to participate I thought about the idea of “perfectionism”. I’ll be honest — it’s sometimes my problem. I want everything to be perfect and in reality, it can’t be. The reason I keep painting is that I am trying to perfect my work. The previous painting I completed didn’t seem to work out exactly as I had planned, so I try again with another painting. If I live forever, will I paint forever, always chasing the elusive perfect painting?
When I set up a group of objects for a painting I always consider negative space, repeating elements, shapes, angles, lines, perspective — everything that moves the eye around the canvas. I use grids to help outline the composition. The objects I paint are engineered machines with symmetry and balance often baked right into their designs, so applying these rules to the paintings seems fitting. The overall effect I am trying to achieve is a sense of order, calmness and stability. Painting these objects transforms them from cold and banal tools to something more human and hopefully pulls a viewer in to think about how they relate to the world of objects around them.
The evening of the reception for my exhibition saw great weather and a good turn out. I had many conversations — it’s nice to get feedback from others as we stand in front of the actual paintings.
Below are some very crude iPhone snapshots of the installation and some people pondering the paintings.
Seeing the paintings framed and lit is a joy for me — as I usually see them up close and usually in an incomplete state. I am grateful to be able to do this — to spend my days working on my art and to then have the opportunity for a gallery to spend time and energy to share the work.
I had my two teenagers with me this time around. We spent 5 days walking around New York and taking it all in. I am now back in my studio and hard at work on another painting that has a tight deadline, which seems to be the way I work best.