Fresh Paint / New Construction 2011

July 16 – August 27, 2011

Text by Michael Patten

The seventh edition of Fresh Paint / New Construction features new and recent work from thirty-two up-and-coming students in painting and sculpture from eight Eastern Canadian universities. This annual event sparks a lot of interest in the arts community and it has proven to be a good indicator of future success for the participants. For example, last year five out of the fifteen semi-finalists for the prestigious 2010 RBC Canadian Painting Competition had taken part in past editions of Fresh Paint.

The artwork selected for the cover of this publication is well-suited for the exhibition, considering its flexibility and ability to stretch the boundaries of art. In the aforementioned work, Andreas Buchwaldt explores the aesthetics of silkscreen computer generated architectural drawings when subjected to a motorized stretcher that pulls them in different directions, skewing them in the process. This work captures the spirit of the show and its aim to showcase and celebrate different perspectives in painting and sculpture; as indicated in the following examples.

Maxwell Evans is interested in the physics of sound and the weird world of quantum mechanics – the underlying force in nature that governs our reality. Using everyday objects, he seeks innovative ways to break the patterns of their use. Similarly, Daniel O’Connor uses familiar objects associated with intimacy and comfort and renders them in metal. His bronze bars of soap and aluminum bath towels not only give permanence to the transient nature of our daily rituals but they also allow us to think differently about the products we use.

Moving from the object to the found photograph, both Matt Gardiner and Pascal Caputo make paintings based on what they find; although in Caputo’s case he primarily uses search engines and splices the resulting images together based on the keywords. This sometimes surprising juxtaposition is also apparent in Heidi Jahnke’s quirky interpretations of the day-to-day with her brightly colored, highly saturated paintings.

There is also an attraction of opposites in the series of self-referential, digitally inspired, paintings that reflect the process of making art by Philip Delisle. In A Fixed State of Irresolution, the artist can be seen painting in his studio, surrounded by the materials and tools used in his production. And in the accompanying work, we see a mapped out painting of jagged pixilation. This interest in process is also evident in the work of Alison Shields. In the Strange Loop series of paintings, the artist traces marks, drips and forms from the painting that preceded it. This evolutionary process gives birth to the next work while maintaining some inherited characteristics.

Inspired by the majestic grandeur of the natural world, Amélie Laurence Fortin documents her travels in a kayak between Alaska and Vancouver, and Tong (Raine) Shen creates suspended site-specific installations composed of drawings based on wind, water, fjords, and plants. This reflection of nature can also be seen in the work of Christopher St. Amand, specifically Whiteout. In this installation, the artist constructed an abstracted landscape of painted white plywood sheets that appear to collide and buckle – giving the illusion of an arctic floor.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of subject matter, style and techniques, present in this year’s exhibition that deal with notions of perspective and their ability to challenge and reorient our perception.