I didn't grow up thinking I was going to be an artist. As a child, I had dreams of becoming a Solid Gold* dancer, but never an artist. To be honest, I found the fine arts intimidating. In part because I didn't spend my youth drawing and painting and yearning to go to art school, so I decided that meant painting wasn’t one of the creative resources available to me. I never considered it something you could “just try.” Much less do.
I had the privelege of being taught the foundations of colour theory and compostion in informal studio sessions with the accomplished late-career painter, Paul Fournier. He acted as a mentor and over the years, we've spent a lot of time talking about art, and artists, and what makes a good picture. For ease, I usually say I'm a self-taught artist, but in truth, I am indebted to Paul for initiating and cultivating my artistic journey.
My work is about creating relationships. The relationship between organic, geometric shapes and lines with surfaces undulating between lean, stained grounds and thicker, shinier sections that sit on the surface. There is movement in the work with elements pulling together and away from each other on the canvas while at the same time vibrating in the tiniest of spaces between the surface of the canvas and the last layer of paint. Colour is another locus of relationship as I challenge myself to invent inspired combinations that aid in the optical illusion of movement, while also disrupting conventional ideas about where colours belong. My work sits comfortably in the realm of pure abstraction and are decidely minimalist.
For all the process junkies out there: I paint with a sponge (cheap dollar store ones) using acrylic paint on raw canvas that I hand stretch on panel stretchers. I often use matte medium to thin out my paint and create the desired opaqueness. I like to control the juxtaposition of flat colour with intentionally shiny, often metallic, surfaces. I use a combination of masking tape and adhesive shelf-liner paper to create my shapes. I use various stencils to draw out the shapes and then cut them from the paper either using the outside section as a stencil, or the inner shape as a friskette or mask that I then paint around (you can see an example below).
I hope you enjoy my work.
*For those of you who don't know what Solid Gold was, there's this (you're welcome):
My studio at 401 Richmond Street West.
This is Paul Fournier.