This has been a busy Saturday – I’ve been on the go most of the day. But I didn’t want to miss the opening of YM Whelan’s exhibition at Yumart (101 Spadina Toronto). Yvonne has put together a great collection of new paintings. Lots of old and newer friends out at the opening. I was only able to stick around for a beer and a little good conversation – but I’ll be able to get a closer look at Yvonne’s exhibition when I bring my paintings in, since my solo show is next up at Yumart (April 26 mark your calendars).
I’ve been working on several smallish paintings in my little basement studio. Some of these are paintings that have been in play down there for some time (in a couple cases, for years). I even took one painting I thought I had finished some time ago, and re-imagined it.
Here is a painting I finished up today. It’s called Back Woods. I painted it with oil paint on canvas, built up over many sessions. I think it’s something like 9X12″.
Some days I envy painters who have the ability to preconceive their paintings. I knew a painter who would make a planning drawing for each painting and even label areas with descriptions of texture and colour. These were like road-maps to his paintings. Then he would attempt to translate the drawing into a painting, coping with all the problems that entailed along the way. I can’t do that.
Part of what keeps me painting is the adventure of it all. I go in without any road-map and without an exit strategy. I don’t make preliminary drawings. There are no dress rehearsals. Believe me when I say there are all kinds of problems with this approach. Sometimes paintings bog down for months or years. I build these things up in layers, creating a new layer with each painting session. They feel very earthy and organic to me. Some paintings need many sessions and many layers before a final image emerges.
This may sound strange but I liken these built-up, layered paintings to compost heaps.
In a recent tondo called The Source I had reached a point where the layers had become unmanageable. I had worked on this painting off and on for years and it wasn’t going anywhere. I felt the need to pull back some of the layers to create a refreshed painting surface. I went at it with a dremmel tool, using various cutting bits and sanding wheels to strip back layers of paint, exposing hints of ideas from an earlier stage of the painting. I didn’t know if this stripping back business was going to accomplish anything or not. I guess I had reached a cul de sac and needed to open things up again.
Once I opened up the surface, it seemed like the picture was painting itself. I completed the painting in a matter of hours. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
We were out at Yumart today – Yvonne Whelan’s gallery at 101 Spadina (here in Toronto of course) – for the opening of a group exhibition of small works. That’s Tim Deverell in the photo along with Memphis and Tuffy P. We hadn’t intended to buy art today, but we ended up buying two paintings (one of them by Tim D.) and one photo collage. There is some excellent work in this show, available at reasonable prices. Check it out.
Somebody landed on 27th Street after entering “Eugene Knapik paintings worth money” twice into a search engine (the first time with a question mark, and the second time more like a statement, without the interrogative). I prefer it without the question mark, frankly.
I can’t resist a comment. Yes of course they are worth tremendous piles of cash. In fact, I have quite a number of them on hand. Bring cash, wheelbarrows of cash, and they can be yours. A selection of my tremendously popular, not to mention valuable paintings can be found on Pinterest. So you don’t forget, order before midnight tomorrow. Operators are on duty now. You’ll also find a few woodcut prints there and even a couple little constructions.
Here’s one from last year I’m particularly fond of, called Lost Forest.
I was out and about in the city today, first picking up some pictures from our framer’s, then picking up a suit from Tom’s place in Kensington Market, after which I walked down to Yumart at 101 Spadina (for readers not from around here, I’m in Toronto) for the opening of an exhibition by Tim Deverell, featuring works from 2000 to 2010.
I like Tim’s work very much – I’ve been familiar with his paintings for many years, and in fact we’ve hung one of his small pieces in our home for several years. It was a treat to see a significant grouping of his paintings today. The show is at Yumart, a gallery space at 101 Spadina up on the 2nd floor. Yumart is operated by Yvonne Whelen, also a painter, whose work may be familiar to art lovers in Toronto.
When you look at one of Tim’s paintings or drawings, first impressions are deceptive. You see the piece one way, and then you catch a glimpse of detail that draws you in, and suddenly the picture has drawn you very close and you’re picking out details, and as you start to see more and more going on, your perception of the picture changes back and forth from micro to macro. Some of his pictures look very simple a first glance but reveal themselves to be so complex and detailed it isn’t possible to take in nearly everything going on in them at once. Tim Deverell makes work that has a quiet presence and an underlying obsessiveness that keeps on giving.
To learn more about Tim Deverell and his work, he is interviewed by Y.M. Whelen in Numéro Cinq. This article also shows some of the pictures in the exhibition.
I’ve made two series of paintings called Underground over the years as well as some one-offs. Along with a few other themes, such as The Source and Forest of No Return, or Lost Forest, I seem to come back to them over and over again. I suppose over time we simply find our themes. This is another picture I made on the ipad using the Procreate app. I’ve been making these digital images specifically for publication on 27th Street, but at the same time, I’m amassing a new image-bank of ideas, some of which may just find their way into a new series of large paintings.