Two Major Artworks on Display
Two major works of mine are currently on display in this group exhibition: Sandbanks and Burning Down The House.
Worth collecting, these two artworks represent a critical milestone in my career as they are respectively the first two pieces in large format sporting the unique vertically textured style I stumbled upon and further developed over the last years, demonstrating in full effect the true potential of this particular, never-seen-before style.
Presenting a surprisingly inviting tactile quality, the innovative texture is made using a painting knife by sculpting numerous layers of oil paint in a highly-controlled manner to recreate a pattern similar to an endless series of small vertical slats.
This three dimensional pattern generates in turn a lenticular screen effect which increases the painting's brightness and glow by focusing all reflected light to the front of the artwork and towards the viewer. This also causes the artwork's appearance to change constantly with varying angles and distances, its overall colour and composition morphing progressively into different shapes and intensity from the observer's position.
Read below the stories behind Sandbanks and Burning Down The House to learn more about the creative process that inspired them and to fully appreciate first-hand the unique and immersive experience of these exceptional works when visiting the exhibition, up until March 11th at Galerie Youn!
If you missed the vernissage back in January, Galerie Youn has recently released a video of this group exhibition where they invited newly discovered talents to present some of their latest works alongside current gallery artists.
Filmed just before the opening and realized by Claudel Désir, the video showcases featured works along with interviews of exhibiting artists Mark Liam Smith, Mass Dousseurk, Robin Crofut-Brittingham, gallery owner Juno Youn and myself.
The Stories Behind the Pieces
The Inspiration for Sandbanks
This piece was produced following a short summer vacation at the Sandbanks Provincial Park beach in Ontario. I wanted to recreate an abstracted impressionistic view of an island surrounded by beaches as if it was seen from above, with emerging sand banks bathing in shallow waters. As one moves alongside the piece from the left, the painting's overall aspect turns gradually from a richer and more colourful version to a lighter dominant white composition, inducing a certain visual effect akin to waves running along the canvas.
Somehow, this alternating sequence of white and coloured slats always reminded me afterwards of late 19th century zoetrope illustrations, with the texture almost giving the illusion of old animation reels plastered on the canvas where each vertical slat would represent a slightly different illustration all lined up in sequence.
A Peculiar Creative Process for Burning Down The House
The title Burning Down The House was chosen in reference to a song bearing the same name by one of my favourite new wave bands, the Talking Heads.*
Upon listening to it time and again over the last months (and also while making this piece!), I kept thinking about the lyrics in how they seemed to resonate with me in a certain way, as if they talked about the challenges and hurdles of being a full-time artist, the insane amount of pressure felt trying to live from our art, of “burning down” a decent career to avoid “bursting into flames”, “listening to ourselves” and “jumping overboard” in a leap of faith to follow our dreams in the hope that we “might get what we’re after…”
Unbeknownst to me at that time, the band’s lead-singer and guitarist David Byrne had once declared in an interview that the lyrics as were in fact completely meaningless, written by first throwing and making nonsense syllables over the music only to fit with the rhythm and the phrasing...
After thoughtful consideration, one could qualify the text of the song as a form of abstraction, since without direct meaning or representational of any reality! With the propensity of the mind to fill in the blanks when confronted to abstract art, a parallel could be drawn between the song and the artwork: each and everyone “sees” or understands something slightly different when attempting to interpret the piece; drawing from their own personal experience with the hope to find some sort of familiar ground to relate to and build upon it.
(*) The song Burning Down the House became the Talking Heads’ highest charting hit in North America; it was released in 1983 as the first single of their fifth album, Speaking in Tongues. You can find the song's lyrics here on Google Play Music.