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"Night and Day"
The Gallery / Art Placement, Inc, 228 - 3rd Ave. S. Saskatoon, SK
September 10 - October 6, 2016
reception: Saturday September 10, from 2-4pm

Links to slide shows (opens in a new tab)

-> Day paintings (large & small)

-> Night paintings (some old, some new)

-> Working at the church summer 2016

- > http://www.artplacement.com (info on tites, sizes etc)

"Night and Day"

I spent a large part of this spring and summer painting at my rural studio in Saskatchewan - an old church that I've converted into a summer studio. Working in my large sunlit space I expanded on some ideas about transparencies, colour and a folded overlapping envelope shape that I had made tentative prototypes of in the last year or so. I had the freedom to work big and on lots of pieces at the same time. I got lost in the work and was having a great time spending my days working on a large scale. The resulting group of works form the basis for this show. I started these paintings with a definite layout in mind as a way to get working. How can following a plan invite the unknown, the unthinkable? It might seem like a contradiction but following a plan can get you into the work and propel you forward. Getting lost in the process can give that slight mental space where something unexpected can creep in. And often its in the details like overlapping paint, edge alignment, or colour layers and combinations that contain the surprise. How to follow the plan while being open to changing, adding or even throwing it out the window at a moments notice? It seems odd thinking this way when working abstractly but it's equivalent to starting a representational painting with a subject matter. Start with an image and yet have room to leap into the magical.

Contrasting the day's work I spent my evenings working on a number of small canvas panels that I had brought with me (some already in a partially completed state). I periodically pulled them out and loosely smeared and scraped paint on them almost as a unwinding from the days "proper" work. At first a painting always has an attachment to what you hoped it would be but with some distance of time you can let that go and react to the piece without imposition - react to what's actually there rather than what you hoped was there. Spending twenty minutes scraping and smearing paint - each time thinking maybe this time I will push the piece to become something. It often doesn't but it's a liberating feeling that in twenty minutes you could make something meaningful even if it took months or years to get to that last twenty minutes. Maybe its just Pollyannaish but I am ever hopeful, willfully ignoring past failures, that this particular time it might just work.

Every painter I admire revels in the journey, the making, the physical materials - whether or not there is an overt concept. For some painters this journey is a pleasure while for others its agony(!), but regardless its necessary and important. Some of the most satisfying moments in the studio are the eureka moments, the second when it all makes sense. A rare aligning of neurons, eyes and physically making something. But in the end it comes down to the work’s character and as always your actual experience of standing in front of the work and sensing its presence.

These approaches might seem like opposites ... like night and day ... but in my mind they are intertwined ... valid approaches to the issue of authenticity, spontaneity and serendipity and hopefully spending a life searching and mulling over these ideas through making paintings will eventually lead to success in sneaking up on that ever elusive mystery called art.

Jonathan Forrest
August 2016

 

 

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