A major exhibition of Alex Colville’s work concluded at the AGO in January and now moves on to the National Gallery in April.
Inspired, we’re offering a workshop on March 14th, themed on this Canadian contemporary master. Perhaps more than Colville’s realist style, it’s his composition and narrative which intrigue. What I like about his art is that it is at once both simple and obscure, always eliciting a reaction.
Alex Colville evokes strong reactions in most people I talk to and very few are ambivalent.There’s the precision and organization of course, and perhaps being led into his world, his vision – with little room for interpretation. Some are, however, delighted by these same factors: the post-modern realism, the composition, the sometimes indirect, dark messaging and the irresistible, surreal edge.
The same sort of mystery is present in past masters’ works – Vermeer certainly, and many American realists, particularly Edward Hopper. A little mystery can be the making of many a fine painting. I recall a painting created last year by friend and workshop participant, Gabriel Lepkey.
With most representational work, there’s an element of narrative that engages. In this case, the juxtaposition between man and dog – where are they going, coming from, who appears the happier, and why? All set in a natural, resonant composition – it works as a painting and potential narrative.
Without over-thinking things, I aim for a sense of interpretation in some of my own work, particularly figure paintings. In my painting “Downstream” a figure floats – downstream of what, why, real or dream?
Whatever your style, join us on March 14th for a day inspired by Colville’s legacy: adding a little mystery to your paintings. You can check out this and other upcoming sessions in our workshop series on the courses page of my website.