Page 1

These artists are possessed by their painting processes … they are simultaneously immersed within, and transported beyond, the mental and physical actions of applying and removing paint. When in the presence of their paintings we, the viewers, are drawn into their realities – we make them whole through our perception and subsequent search for meaning. In Painting for Alex No.4, recognizable forms float and shift in a dark, fluid-filled space. The image is similar to what one might expect to see in an ultra sound, or what one might imagine as a stage in the development of the human child. But to take all of these pieces only as depictions of embryonic development would be to understand Kirkland’s pieces too literally and descriptively, as the “real” meaning behind symbolic forms that are in fact intended to register deeper and more ambivalent expressions. Above all else, the artist’s emotional involvement in the creation of these forms comes through strongly. In contrast to the biomorphic images that are already present in Kirkland’s earlier pieces, his new paintings concentrate on the tension between the fluidity and movement of their central forms in contrast with the frame of the painting, which contains their movement within confined boundaries. In every case, Kirkland’s configurations stay within the painting, rather than enter from one area of the canvas and/or deviate to another. This in part creates the tight control and feelings of stasis that the paintings invoke at times. In No. 1, this element of immobility can be seen in the juxtaposition of a yellow organic shape against a reddish colour, which gives all the weight in the painting to the form. This molecular structure is painted with great intensity by Kirkland, who believes that it produces a resonance emblematic of the unknown. The large yellow form in this piece is deliberate and demanding apart from its abstract and flat shape; it remains luminous and radiant, symbolizing the transcendence of organic growth. On the other hand, the illusions of light and dark in Phrygian Cap creates a ghostly and additive effect on the transparent shapes that is drastically different from the solid and flat forms in No.1. In Kirkland’s earlier work, the transparent non-representational forms are eloquently painted with veils of light adding and subtracting intensity to different parts of the canvas. His ethereal shapes sometimes drip with paint and are strongly expressive: even though they are frozen in time, on the verge of shifting and moving, but unable by virtue of being fixed in paint. This is captured in Kirkland’s draw-

ings as well, but in a different fashion. There are specific areas in his drawings that convey the division between something real and imagined. In Assumption, body parts are transfigured into unusual forms that are then suspended on the paper. There are shapes that resemble fingers rising up from the bottom of the drawing, stretching out to the nebulous shapes hovering above them, creating a tension that is unresolved. The marks on Kirkland’s drawings are looser and bolder than his paintings, which bring about an effective synthesis of natural and imposed elements.

Process As Henry Moore once wrote, “because a work does not aim at reproducing natural appearances it is not, therefore, an escape from life – but may be a penetration into reality…an expression of the significance to greater effort in living” (Hunter: 1998). Kirkland’s work embodies this statement, looking deeply into life without feeling the need to reproduce it in a “life-like” manner. They come instead at the mysteries of life in another, deeper way. His figures look like the marine life imagined to live in the darkest depths of the ocean, or like images of the microscopic ephemeral organic material that our bodies are constantly creating, destroying, encountering and shedding. They symbolize a never-ending process: the continuity of life, the endless divisions of cells into new organisms. Kirkland has devised a perfect form in which to capture these processes. In his work, one shape morphs into another, receding and disappearing against a backdrop indifferent to its struggles. As viewers, our focus is pulled back and forth from figure to ground in a way that emphasizes that experience is always about both ephemerality and continuity, categories which themselves are unstable and indistinct: ground can equally stand as the figure. Though these central concerns will no doubt persist, we can expect that Kirkland’s work will transform with the changes that he is about to undergo in his life.

Maria Whiteman

The Burlington Art Centre Our Vision:

Our Principles and Values:

• Inspiring imagination, enriching lives.

We believe…

Our Mission Statement:

Openness and Accessibility

The Burlington Art Centre champions the role and value of art in life. We provide diverse experiences and discovery as a leading and sustainable organization through: • Nurturing artistic development • Being a home to our art and fine craft guilds and groups • Exhibition and education programs, special events and community outreach services • Our acclaimed permanent collection of ceramic art • Volunteer and active community participation opportunities • Retail services, memberships and corporate partnerships

In being open to new ideas, opportunities and insights, as well as being accessible to all members of our community related to their interests, needs and capacities.

Entrepreneurial and Innovating In creating art and fine craft opportunities and experiences that encourage individuals to take risks, explore new territory, to be forward thinking and to act on their inspirations.

Committed to Art and a Learning Culture In nurturing and evolving a learning culture of educational, research and practice experiences and discovery that advances the knowledge of and a commitment to art and fine crafts within residents, the Centre and the community.

Bibliography 1. Berger, John. (1972) Ways of Seeing, London and Harmondsworth: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books, pp 31-32. 2. Hunter, Sam, John Jacobus and Daniel Wheeler. (1998) Modern Art, Prentice Hall N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, pp 237-239, pp 394-395.

Process & Presence Paintings byRobert Cadotte & Peter Kirkland

Cover Photos (top to bottom) Peter Kirkland – Detail of “Painting for Alex, No. 1”, 2002 Peter Kirkland – Detail of “Painting for Alex, No. 2”, 2002 Robert Cadotte – Detail of “Intersection”, 2000 Robert Cadotte – Detail of “Short Form & Contraction”, 2001

Acknowledgements The Burlington Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial support of our Membership, Corporate Members and Sponsors; the BAC Foundation; Arts Burlington; the Volunteer Council; the City of Burlington; the Ontario Arts Council; The Canada Council for the Arts; and the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage. Special thanks to the Bau-Xi and Michael Gibson Galleries for the loan of Robert Cadotte’s paintings.

1333 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington Ontario L7S 1A9 Telephone: (905) 632-7796 • Fax: (905) 632-0278 Email: info@BurlingtonArtCentre.on.ca • Website: www.BurlingtonArtCentre.on.ca Curator’s Tour: Monday, September 30, 2 pm Exhibition Reception: Sunday, October 6, 2 pm Artists’ Tour and Talk: Monday, October 7, 7 pm Curator: George Wale Guest Writer: Maria Whiteman, McMaster University Publication Design: Wordsmith Design and Advertising ISBN 0-919752-88-8

September 29 to November 10, 2002


These artists are possessed by their painting processes … they are simultaneously immersed within, and transported beyond, the mental and physical actions of applying and removing paint. When in the presence of their paintings we, the viewers, are drawn into their realities – we make them whole through our perception and subsequent search for meaning. In Painting for Alex No.4, recognizable forms float and shift in a dark, fluid-filled space. The image is similar to what one might expect to see in an ultra sound, or what one might imagine as a stage in the development of the human child. But to take all of these pieces only as depictions of embryonic development would be to understand Kirkland’s pieces too literally and descriptively, as the “real” meaning behind symbolic forms that are in fact intended to register deeper and more ambivalent expressions. Above all else, the artist’s emotional involvement in the creation of these forms comes through strongly. In contrast to the biomorphic images that are already present in Kirkland’s earlier pieces, his new paintings concentrate on the tension between the fluidity and movement of their central forms in contrast with the frame of the painting, which contains their movement within confined boundaries. In every case, Kirkland’s configurations stay within the painting, rather than enter from one area of the canvas and/or deviate to another. This in part creates the tight control and feelings of stasis that the paintings invoke at times. In No. 1, this element of immobility can be seen in the juxtaposition of a yellow organic shape against a reddish colour, which gives all the weight in the painting to the form. This molecular structure is painted with great intensity by Kirkland, who believes that it produces a resonance emblematic of the unknown. The large yellow form in this piece is deliberate and demanding apart from its abstract and flat shape; it remains luminous and radiant, symbolizing the transcendence of organic growth. On the other hand, the illusions of light and dark in Phrygian Cap creates a ghostly and additive effect on the transparent shapes that is drastically different from the solid and flat forms in No.1. In Kirkland’s earlier work, the transparent non-representational forms are eloquently painted with veils of light adding and subtracting intensity to different parts of the canvas. His ethereal shapes sometimes drip with paint and are strongly expressive: even though they are frozen in time, on the verge of shifting and moving, but unable by virtue of being fixed in paint. This is captured in Kirkland’s draw-

ings as well, but in a different fashion. There are specific areas in his drawings that convey the division between something real and imagined. In Assumption, body parts are transfigured into unusual forms that are then suspended on the paper. There are shapes that resemble fingers rising up from the bottom of the drawing, stretching out to the nebulous shapes hovering above them, creating a tension that is unresolved. The marks on Kirkland’s drawings are looser and bolder than his paintings, which bring about an effective synthesis of natural and imposed elements.

Process As Henry Moore once wrote, “because a work does not aim at reproducing natural appearances it is not, therefore, an escape from life – but may be a penetration into reality…an expression of the significance to greater effort in living” (Hunter: 1998). Kirkland’s work embodies this statement, looking deeply into life without feeling the need to reproduce it in a “life-like” manner. They come instead at the mysteries of life in another, deeper way. His figures look like the marine life imagined to live in the darkest depths of the ocean, or like images of the microscopic ephemeral organic material that our bodies are constantly creating, destroying, encountering and shedding. They symbolize a never-ending process: the continuity of life, the endless divisions of cells into new organisms. Kirkland has devised a perfect form in which to capture these processes. In his work, one shape morphs into another, receding and disappearing against a backdrop indifferent to its struggles. As viewers, our focus is pulled back and forth from figure to ground in a way that emphasizes that experience is always about both ephemerality and continuity, categories which themselves are unstable and indistinct: ground can equally stand as the figure. Though these central concerns will no doubt persist, we can expect that Kirkland’s work will transform with the changes that he is about to undergo in his life.

Maria Whiteman

The Burlington Art Centre Our Vision:

Our Principles and Values:

• Inspiring imagination, enriching lives.

We believe…

Our Mission Statement:

Openness and Accessibility

The Burlington Art Centre champions the role and value of art in life. We provide diverse experiences and discovery as a leading and sustainable organization through: • Nurturing artistic development • Being a home to our art and fine craft guilds and groups • Exhibition and education programs, special events and community outreach services • Our acclaimed permanent collection of ceramic art • Volunteer and active community participation opportunities • Retail services, memberships and corporate partnerships

In being open to new ideas, opportunities and insights, as well as being accessible to all members of our community related to their interests, needs and capacities.

Entrepreneurial and Innovating In creating art and fine craft opportunities and experiences that encourage individuals to take risks, explore new territory, to be forward thinking and to act on their inspirations.

Committed to Art and a Learning Culture In nurturing and evolving a learning culture of educational, research and practice experiences and discovery that advances the knowledge of and a commitment to art and fine crafts within residents, the Centre and the community.

Bibliography 1. Berger, John. (1972) Ways of Seeing, London and Harmondsworth: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books, pp 31-32. 2. Hunter, Sam, John Jacobus and Daniel Wheeler. (1998) Modern Art, Prentice Hall N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, pp 237-239, pp 394-395.

Process & Presence Paintings byRobert Cadotte & Peter Kirkland

Cover Photos (top to bottom) Peter Kirkland – Detail of “Painting for Alex, No. 1”, 2002 Peter Kirkland – Detail of “Painting for Alex, No. 2”, 2002 Robert Cadotte – Detail of “Intersection”, 2000 Robert Cadotte – Detail of “Short Form & Contraction”, 2001

Acknowledgements The Burlington Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial support of our Membership, Corporate Members and Sponsors; the BAC Foundation; Arts Burlington; the Volunteer Council; the City of Burlington; the Ontario Arts Council; The Canada Council for the Arts; and the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage. Special thanks to the Bau-Xi and Michael Gibson Galleries for the loan of Robert Cadotte’s paintings.

1333 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington Ontario L7S 1A9 Telephone: (905) 632-7796 • Fax: (905) 632-0278 Email: info@BurlingtonArtCentre.on.ca • Website: www.BurlingtonArtCentre.on.ca Curator’s Tour: Monday, September 30, 2 pm Exhibition Reception: Sunday, October 6, 2 pm Artists’ Tour and Talk: Monday, October 7, 7 pm Curator: George Wale Guest Writer: Maria Whiteman, McMaster University Publication Design: Wordsmith Design and Advertising ISBN 0-919752-88-8

September 29 to November 10, 2002


Robert Cadotte R

obert Cadotte’s paintings explore multiple modes of expressing temporality and space in and through the landscape. Throughout his career, Cadotte has approached the art of landscape painting by constantly shifting themes and forms, moving between abstract and representational modes, and often juxtaposing the two in single pieces and across whole bodies of work. What emerges from his varied artistic explorations is a sense of intimacy and familiarity, especially for those connected to the landscape of Ontario. Invoking the concept of familiarity in this context immediately suggests stereotypical images of landscape painting: mimetically perfect representations of running streams, glistening snow-capped peaks, rustling grass and sun-dappled forests. The intimacy of Cadotte’s paintings goes well beyond the essentially romantic relationship towards the landscape that has persisted unchanged into our technological age. His work probes at the deeper psychological and bodily relationship we experience in our encounter with specific landscapes, especially those that marked us in our youth. By pulling out marks and fragments of these landscapes and by bringing them to the fore, Cadotte explores whole spaces through a depiction of its component parts. As Marcel Proust showed us so memorably in In Search of Lost Time, this is how memory works: an unexpected taste, the smell of something long forgotten yet intimately familiar, an image caught out of the corner of our eye as we hurry through our day – the experience of such fragmentary moments can produce much more powerful sensations than the blunt realities that stare us in the face everyday. Cadotte’s paintings invoke the specifics of his places and spaces in just this way: his marks, fragments, and even the texture and strokes in his work bring painting and place together without the need to sketch out every leaf on the tree.

Robert Cadotte – Intersection, 2000, 24" x 48"

Process Cadotte has recently moved to Montreal after living in South Western Ontario for the last twenty-five years. In Simcoe, Cadotte experienced the changing seasons and the long-drawn-out winters typical of Northern landscapes. His studio sat in a quiet neighborhood adjacent to other small warehouses that have a semi-abandoned look to them; once prosperous, this part of Ontario has entered a slow decline. Cadotte had a modest studio made up of several rooms. At any one time, each room had a single painting hanging in it, a painting Cadotte continues to struggle with, an emotional relationship that he is still working to properly express. Cadotte’s canvases are deeply scarred with heavy marks. Over the course of the day, Cadotte rotates between his paintings, shifting from one piece to another, always working on a single painting and a specific expression, but developing common themes amongst successive works at the very same time. The worn surfaces and textures of wood that can often be found in Cadotte’s work are remarkably similar to the furniture that graces his home. This isn’t mere coincidence. Prior to devoting himself to painting, Cadotte was an accomplished furniture-maker, and he brings to the canvas the aesthetics and materiality of

Robert Cadotte – Short Form and Contraction, 2001, 24" x 48"

someone familiar with the labour of working with and against the grain. He applies paint to his canvases through a labourious process of carving, scraping, layering and drying, a process that makes a physical and symbolic reference to the natural world through the force of his marks alone. Though the process is always the same, each piece contains complexities of its own: as the shape of the materials begins to take over, they give their own impetus to the shape and direction that the final piece takes. The materiality of these works is most reminiscent of the art of Patterson Ewen and Anselm Kiefer, both of whom layer and infuse their canvases with matter to the point where they can almost sustain no more weight. Kiefer’s work has several layers of organized structures that are prepared within the material, conveying the sense of scarred land and the recultivation in his dynamic landscapes. The canvas is deeply encrusted with excessive materiality, which creates a spatial illusion of depth. Kiefer once said, “I like to draw the viewer in like a bee to a flower, and for the viewer to get past that, so that they can get down through the sediment, and get to the essence” (Hunter 1998). Like Cadotte’s beautifully worked surface, he achieves a paradox similar to the double vision in Kiefer’s paintings – where the landscape appears serene but metaphorically is scarred. However, while Ewen’s pieces create an almost topographical image of a landscape, Cadotte’s landscapes remain more elusive and open-ended, amidst the heaviness that has gone into creating them.

Paintings The changes that have occurred in Cadotte’s work over the last several years are evidenced in the various forms and methods present in his landscapes. In Photo Opportunity (1996) and Beach (1996), the painted surface and compositional form are more abstract than his recent paintings. The process of integrating extremely worn surfaces with those that have been untouched, and fusing these with squares of flat, solid colours, demonstrate Cadotte’s interest in balancing geometric and organic forms. These pieces successfully integrate the intellectual and the intuitive through their ordered arrangement of basic shapes in the

frontal plane, producing a distinctive visual pear, the wind that ebbs and flows, the vocabulary for these abstract landscapes. open spaces where one discerns and assimCadotte’s next splendid series of paintings ilates detail about one’s surroundings. In a (1998) extends this vocabulary in two differsimilar way, the landscapes we encounter ent directions. Parts of these pieces evoke the in Short Form and Contraction (2000) or classical serenity of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodCurved Downstrokes (2001) are both in flux block prints, especially the famous work of and immobile, together forming a new Hokusai. Like Hokusai, Cadotte uses the object with its own contours and lines, that wood grain itself as part of the rhythmic patis calm, peaceful, elusive and yet precise. tern and texture of his pieces, working with Fundamentally, what Cadotte’s paintthe grain to scratch out what in a woodblock ings evoke is the quintessential “stillness” would be waving grass or a delicate sketch of that John Berger describes in Ways of tree leaves. However, in Cadotte’s pieces Seeing. “Original paintings are silent and these sharp, gestural lines are set against visstill in a sense that information never is,” ible geometric grids, as in Particular by Berger writes. “In the original painting the Choice (1998) and Illusory Properties (1998). silence and stillness permeates the actual In these pieces, the lines dynamically tear material, the paint, in which one follows into the grid that lies underneath them, the traces of the painter’s immediate gesforging a connection between the fixed and tures” (Berger: 1972). Paintings remain the impermanent, the technological and the one of the few visual forms that permit the natural. All of the pieces in this series explore contemplation of time and space with no the polarities of order and chaos that reflect other factor affecting the image. This is the relationship not only between the what one experiences in the presence of human and non-human worlds, but which Cadotte’s diptychs. In Punctuating exist within nature itself, balanced as it is Appositives (2001), we see a landscape that between cyclical regularity and permanent gestures symbolically towards our unfulentropy and decay. Once again, Cadotte filled longings for a profound connection echoes these dualisms through the opposiwith nature. Cadotte’s pieces are moving, tion of flatness and texture, which produces unfinished narratives that can stop and much of the power contained in his work as start up again anywhere and at anytime; a whole. they physically embody that longing Though Cadotte’s most recent paintings famously expressed by Paul Cézanne: continue to mine these oppositions, they are “A minute in the world’s life passes! To less restrained by them formally, and appear become that minute!” (Berger: 1972) charged with energy. The landscape is now both simultaneously visible and indistinguishable, as if the artist is deliberately playing with our desire for clarity. Identifiable fragments of the outside world emerge on the horizon, but remain veiled and blurry, shimmering behind a representational fog. eter Kirkland’s work investigates the If in the earlier works, Cadotte’s use of fragstyle and forms of Symbolism, which ments evoked both physical and psychological are impressively redefined in his comexperiences of familiarity, here ghostly plex visual representations of the quasi-figshapes are meant to bring emotions into ures depicted in most of his pieces. The focus. Though these paintings display more complexity and power of his work derive in verve and vivacity than the earlier grid forms, part from his ability to produce images they do so with an uncharacteristic emotionthat evoke the apparently contradictory al heaviness. Their atmospheric depths procategories that emerge out of his dynamic duce a solemnity and create the impression forms and abstract harmonies. Kirkland’s of a landscape that is being injured and broken through a transformation Peter Kirkland – Painting for Alex, No. 1, 2002, 72" x 72" by some unknown power. Intersection (2000) and Transcription (2001) both possess a resilience and mass that capture something particular and yet universal. Cadotte’s compositions compel us to look closely in an effort to find something familiar in what are generic images of the landscape. The form of these recent pieces reinforces this process at another level: the diptychs are arranged so that one side appears as an abstraction of the painting beside it, a relationship of proximity and distance that together produce an interesting dialogue. In Circles and Loops (2000), for example, Cadotte places a painting of trees next to a fragment of a landscape, which produces a disjuncture from the familiar, and mimics the multiplicity that one experiences in a landscape: the shadows that appear and disap-

Peter Kirkland

P

Peter Kirkland – Assumption, 2000, 30" x 44" paintings are simultaneously opaque and ethereal, representational and abstract, mechanical and organic, active and inactive. Looking at his work, one cannot help but see traces of the work of Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore. His luminous disjointed floating forms introduce Moore’s twisting sculptures into the organicity produced by O’Keeffe’s choice of colour and light, creating unexpected juxtapositions. However, Kirkland’s mobile forms are laid over a more static background than O’Keeffe’s, producing complex spatial configurations that are both sensuous and disturbing. The light shifts over the surface of the pieces, creating an illusion of space similar to the way in which O’Keeffe paints each petal in detail, forcing the viewer to look deep into the flower. But while O’Keeffe’s use of seamless gradients of colour was meant to be descriptive of nature, Kirkland’s colours dematerialize his objects instead of insisting on their inescapable solidity. The materialization and dematerialization of forms is a key element of symbolist aesthetics, which generate their power out of the transformation of personal experiences and emotions into pictorial forms and expressions. This is the task of Kirkland’s work as well; it is a task at which he succeeds marvelously.

New Paintings The large scale of Kirkland’s most recent paintings compliments the rounded and complex images he continues to develop and explore. The forms appear more vital and whole in these larger spaces. The deep hues and velvety textures create a sustaining and mesmerizing compositional pattern that invites exploration and reflection. Kirkland’s new paintings are symbolic evocations of his impending parenthood.


Robert Cadotte R

obert Cadotte’s paintings explore multiple modes of expressing temporality and space in and through the landscape. Throughout his career, Cadotte has approached the art of landscape painting by constantly shifting themes and forms, moving between abstract and representational modes, and often juxtaposing the two in single pieces and across whole bodies of work. What emerges from his varied artistic explorations is a sense of intimacy and familiarity, especially for those connected to the landscape of Ontario. Invoking the concept of familiarity in this context immediately suggests stereotypical images of landscape painting: mimetically perfect representations of running streams, glistening snow-capped peaks, rustling grass and sun-dappled forests. The intimacy of Cadotte’s paintings goes well beyond the essentially romantic relationship towards the landscape that has persisted unchanged into our technological age. His work probes at the deeper psychological and bodily relationship we experience in our encounter with specific landscapes, especially those that marked us in our youth. By pulling out marks and fragments of these landscapes and by bringing them to the fore, Cadotte explores whole spaces through a depiction of its component parts. As Marcel Proust showed us so memorably in In Search of Lost Time, this is how memory works: an unexpected taste, the smell of something long forgotten yet intimately familiar, an image caught out of the corner of our eye as we hurry through our day – the experience of such fragmentary moments can produce much more powerful sensations than the blunt realities that stare us in the face everyday. Cadotte’s paintings invoke the specifics of his places and spaces in just this way: his marks, fragments, and even the texture and strokes in his work bring painting and place together without the need to sketch out every leaf on the tree.

Robert Cadotte – Intersection, 2000, 24" x 48"

Process Cadotte has recently moved to Montreal after living in South Western Ontario for the last twenty-five years. In Simcoe, Cadotte experienced the changing seasons and the long-drawn-out winters typical of Northern landscapes. His studio sat in a quiet neighborhood adjacent to other small warehouses that have a semi-abandoned look to them; once prosperous, this part of Ontario has entered a slow decline. Cadotte had a modest studio made up of several rooms. At any one time, each room had a single painting hanging in it, a painting Cadotte continues to struggle with, an emotional relationship that he is still working to properly express. Cadotte’s canvases are deeply scarred with heavy marks. Over the course of the day, Cadotte rotates between his paintings, shifting from one piece to another, always working on a single painting and a specific expression, but developing common themes amongst successive works at the very same time. The worn surfaces and textures of wood that can often be found in Cadotte’s work are remarkably similar to the furniture that graces his home. This isn’t mere coincidence. Prior to devoting himself to painting, Cadotte was an accomplished furniture-maker, and he brings to the canvas the aesthetics and materiality of

Robert Cadotte – Short Form and Contraction, 2001, 24" x 48"

someone familiar with the labour of working with and against the grain. He applies paint to his canvases through a labourious process of carving, scraping, layering and drying, a process that makes a physical and symbolic reference to the natural world through the force of his marks alone. Though the process is always the same, each piece contains complexities of its own: as the shape of the materials begins to take over, they give their own impetus to the shape and direction that the final piece takes. The materiality of these works is most reminiscent of the art of Patterson Ewen and Anselm Kiefer, both of whom layer and infuse their canvases with matter to the point where they can almost sustain no more weight. Kiefer’s work has several layers of organized structures that are prepared within the material, conveying the sense of scarred land and the recultivation in his dynamic landscapes. The canvas is deeply encrusted with excessive materiality, which creates a spatial illusion of depth. Kiefer once said, “I like to draw the viewer in like a bee to a flower, and for the viewer to get past that, so that they can get down through the sediment, and get to the essence” (Hunter 1998). Like Cadotte’s beautifully worked surface, he achieves a paradox similar to the double vision in Kiefer’s paintings – where the landscape appears serene but metaphorically is scarred. However, while Ewen’s pieces create an almost topographical image of a landscape, Cadotte’s landscapes remain more elusive and open-ended, amidst the heaviness that has gone into creating them.

Paintings The changes that have occurred in Cadotte’s work over the last several years are evidenced in the various forms and methods present in his landscapes. In Photo Opportunity (1996) and Beach (1996), the painted surface and compositional form are more abstract than his recent paintings. The process of integrating extremely worn surfaces with those that have been untouched, and fusing these with squares of flat, solid colours, demonstrate Cadotte’s interest in balancing geometric and organic forms. These pieces successfully integrate the intellectual and the intuitive through their ordered arrangement of basic shapes in the

frontal plane, producing a distinctive visual pear, the wind that ebbs and flows, the vocabulary for these abstract landscapes. open spaces where one discerns and assimCadotte’s next splendid series of paintings ilates detail about one’s surroundings. In a (1998) extends this vocabulary in two differsimilar way, the landscapes we encounter ent directions. Parts of these pieces evoke the in Short Form and Contraction (2000) or classical serenity of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodCurved Downstrokes (2001) are both in flux block prints, especially the famous work of and immobile, together forming a new Hokusai. Like Hokusai, Cadotte uses the object with its own contours and lines, that wood grain itself as part of the rhythmic patis calm, peaceful, elusive and yet precise. tern and texture of his pieces, working with Fundamentally, what Cadotte’s paintthe grain to scratch out what in a woodblock ings evoke is the quintessential “stillness” would be waving grass or a delicate sketch of that John Berger describes in Ways of tree leaves. However, in Cadotte’s pieces Seeing. “Original paintings are silent and these sharp, gestural lines are set against visstill in a sense that information never is,” ible geometric grids, as in Particular by Berger writes. “In the original painting the Choice (1998) and Illusory Properties (1998). silence and stillness permeates the actual In these pieces, the lines dynamically tear material, the paint, in which one follows into the grid that lies underneath them, the traces of the painter’s immediate gesforging a connection between the fixed and tures” (Berger: 1972). Paintings remain the impermanent, the technological and the one of the few visual forms that permit the natural. All of the pieces in this series explore contemplation of time and space with no the polarities of order and chaos that reflect other factor affecting the image. This is the relationship not only between the what one experiences in the presence of human and non-human worlds, but which Cadotte’s diptychs. In Punctuating exist within nature itself, balanced as it is Appositives (2001), we see a landscape that between cyclical regularity and permanent gestures symbolically towards our unfulentropy and decay. Once again, Cadotte filled longings for a profound connection echoes these dualisms through the opposiwith nature. Cadotte’s pieces are moving, tion of flatness and texture, which produces unfinished narratives that can stop and much of the power contained in his work as start up again anywhere and at anytime; a whole. they physically embody that longing Though Cadotte’s most recent paintings famously expressed by Paul Cézanne: continue to mine these oppositions, they are “A minute in the world’s life passes! To less restrained by them formally, and appear become that minute!” (Berger: 1972) charged with energy. The landscape is now both simultaneously visible and indistinguishable, as if the artist is deliberately playing with our desire for clarity. Identifiable fragments of the outside world emerge on the horizon, but remain veiled and blurry, shimmering behind a representational fog. eter Kirkland’s work investigates the If in the earlier works, Cadotte’s use of fragstyle and forms of Symbolism, which ments evoked both physical and psychological are impressively redefined in his comexperiences of familiarity, here ghostly plex visual representations of the quasi-figshapes are meant to bring emotions into ures depicted in most of his pieces. The focus. Though these paintings display more complexity and power of his work derive in verve and vivacity than the earlier grid forms, part from his ability to produce images they do so with an uncharacteristic emotionthat evoke the apparently contradictory al heaviness. Their atmospheric depths procategories that emerge out of his dynamic duce a solemnity and create the impression forms and abstract harmonies. Kirkland’s of a landscape that is being injured and broken through a transformation Peter Kirkland – Painting for Alex, No. 1, 2002, 72" x 72" by some unknown power. Intersection (2000) and Transcription (2001) both possess a resilience and mass that capture something particular and yet universal. Cadotte’s compositions compel us to look closely in an effort to find something familiar in what are generic images of the landscape. The form of these recent pieces reinforces this process at another level: the diptychs are arranged so that one side appears as an abstraction of the painting beside it, a relationship of proximity and distance that together produce an interesting dialogue. In Circles and Loops (2000), for example, Cadotte places a painting of trees next to a fragment of a landscape, which produces a disjuncture from the familiar, and mimics the multiplicity that one experiences in a landscape: the shadows that appear and disap-

Peter Kirkland

P

Peter Kirkland – Assumption, 2000, 30" x 44" paintings are simultaneously opaque and ethereal, representational and abstract, mechanical and organic, active and inactive. Looking at his work, one cannot help but see traces of the work of Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore. His luminous disjointed floating forms introduce Moore’s twisting sculptures into the organicity produced by O’Keeffe’s choice of colour and light, creating unexpected juxtapositions. However, Kirkland’s mobile forms are laid over a more static background than O’Keeffe’s, producing complex spatial configurations that are both sensuous and disturbing. The light shifts over the surface of the pieces, creating an illusion of space similar to the way in which O’Keeffe paints each petal in detail, forcing the viewer to look deep into the flower. But while O’Keeffe’s use of seamless gradients of colour was meant to be descriptive of nature, Kirkland’s colours dematerialize his objects instead of insisting on their inescapable solidity. The materialization and dematerialization of forms is a key element of symbolist aesthetics, which generate their power out of the transformation of personal experiences and emotions into pictorial forms and expressions. This is the task of Kirkland’s work as well; it is a task at which he succeeds marvelously.

New Paintings The large scale of Kirkland’s most recent paintings compliments the rounded and complex images he continues to develop and explore. The forms appear more vital and whole in these larger spaces. The deep hues and velvety textures create a sustaining and mesmerizing compositional pattern that invites exploration and reflection. Kirkland’s new paintings are symbolic evocations of his impending parenthood.


Robert Cadotte R

obert Cadotte’s paintings explore multiple modes of expressing temporality and space in and through the landscape. Throughout his career, Cadotte has approached the art of landscape painting by constantly shifting themes and forms, moving between abstract and representational modes, and often juxtaposing the two in single pieces and across whole bodies of work. What emerges from his varied artistic explorations is a sense of intimacy and familiarity, especially for those connected to the landscape of Ontario. Invoking the concept of familiarity in this context immediately suggests stereotypical images of landscape painting: mimetically perfect representations of running streams, glistening snow-capped peaks, rustling grass and sun-dappled forests. The intimacy of Cadotte’s paintings goes well beyond the essentially romantic relationship towards the landscape that has persisted unchanged into our technological age. His work probes at the deeper psychological and bodily relationship we experience in our encounter with specific landscapes, especially those that marked us in our youth. By pulling out marks and fragments of these landscapes and by bringing them to the fore, Cadotte explores whole spaces through a depiction of its component parts. As Marcel Proust showed us so memorably in In Search of Lost Time, this is how memory works: an unexpected taste, the smell of something long forgotten yet intimately familiar, an image caught out of the corner of our eye as we hurry through our day – the experience of such fragmentary moments can produce much more powerful sensations than the blunt realities that stare us in the face everyday. Cadotte’s paintings invoke the specifics of his places and spaces in just this way: his marks, fragments, and even the texture and strokes in his work bring painting and place together without the need to sketch out every leaf on the tree.

Robert Cadotte – Intersection, 2000, 24" x 48"

Process Cadotte has recently moved to Montreal after living in South Western Ontario for the last twenty-five years. In Simcoe, Cadotte experienced the changing seasons and the long-drawn-out winters typical of Northern landscapes. His studio sat in a quiet neighborhood adjacent to other small warehouses that have a semi-abandoned look to them; once prosperous, this part of Ontario has entered a slow decline. Cadotte had a modest studio made up of several rooms. At any one time, each room had a single painting hanging in it, a painting Cadotte continues to struggle with, an emotional relationship that he is still working to properly express. Cadotte’s canvases are deeply scarred with heavy marks. Over the course of the day, Cadotte rotates between his paintings, shifting from one piece to another, always working on a single painting and a specific expression, but developing common themes amongst successive works at the very same time. The worn surfaces and textures of wood that can often be found in Cadotte’s work are remarkably similar to the furniture that graces his home. This isn’t mere coincidence. Prior to devoting himself to painting, Cadotte was an accomplished furniture-maker, and he brings to the canvas the aesthetics and materiality of

Robert Cadotte – Short Form and Contraction, 2001, 24" x 48"

someone familiar with the labour of working with and against the grain. He applies paint to his canvases through a labourious process of carving, scraping, layering and drying, a process that makes a physical and symbolic reference to the natural world through the force of his marks alone. Though the process is always the same, each piece contains complexities of its own: as the shape of the materials begins to take over, they give their own impetus to the shape and direction that the final piece takes. The materiality of these works is most reminiscent of the art of Patterson Ewen and Anselm Kiefer, both of whom layer and infuse their canvases with matter to the point where they can almost sustain no more weight. Kiefer’s work has several layers of organized structures that are prepared within the material, conveying the sense of scarred land and the recultivation in his dynamic landscapes. The canvas is deeply encrusted with excessive materiality, which creates a spatial illusion of depth. Kiefer once said, “I like to draw the viewer in like a bee to a flower, and for the viewer to get past that, so that they can get down through the sediment, and get to the essence” (Hunter 1998). Like Cadotte’s beautifully worked surface, he achieves a paradox similar to the double vision in Kiefer’s paintings – where the landscape appears serene but metaphorically is scarred. However, while Ewen’s pieces create an almost topographical image of a landscape, Cadotte’s landscapes remain more elusive and open-ended, amidst the heaviness that has gone into creating them.

Paintings The changes that have occurred in Cadotte’s work over the last several years are evidenced in the various forms and methods present in his landscapes. In Photo Opportunity (1996) and Beach (1996), the painted surface and compositional form are more abstract than his recent paintings. The process of integrating extremely worn surfaces with those that have been untouched, and fusing these with squares of flat, solid colours, demonstrate Cadotte’s interest in balancing geometric and organic forms. These pieces successfully integrate the intellectual and the intuitive through their ordered arrangement of basic shapes in the

frontal plane, producing a distinctive visual pear, the wind that ebbs and flows, the vocabulary for these abstract landscapes. open spaces where one discerns and assimCadotte’s next splendid series of paintings ilates detail about one’s surroundings. In a (1998) extends this vocabulary in two differsimilar way, the landscapes we encounter ent directions. Parts of these pieces evoke the in Short Form and Contraction (2000) or classical serenity of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodCurved Downstrokes (2001) are both in flux block prints, especially the famous work of and immobile, together forming a new Hokusai. Like Hokusai, Cadotte uses the object with its own contours and lines, that wood grain itself as part of the rhythmic patis calm, peaceful, elusive and yet precise. tern and texture of his pieces, working with Fundamentally, what Cadotte’s paintthe grain to scratch out what in a woodblock ings evoke is the quintessential “stillness” would be waving grass or a delicate sketch of that John Berger describes in Ways of tree leaves. However, in Cadotte’s pieces Seeing. “Original paintings are silent and these sharp, gestural lines are set against visstill in a sense that information never is,” ible geometric grids, as in Particular by Berger writes. “In the original painting the Choice (1998) and Illusory Properties (1998). silence and stillness permeates the actual In these pieces, the lines dynamically tear material, the paint, in which one follows into the grid that lies underneath them, the traces of the painter’s immediate gesforging a connection between the fixed and tures” (Berger: 1972). Paintings remain the impermanent, the technological and the one of the few visual forms that permit the natural. All of the pieces in this series explore contemplation of time and space with no the polarities of order and chaos that reflect other factor affecting the image. This is the relationship not only between the what one experiences in the presence of human and non-human worlds, but which Cadotte’s diptychs. In Punctuating exist within nature itself, balanced as it is Appositives (2001), we see a landscape that between cyclical regularity and permanent gestures symbolically towards our unfulentropy and decay. Once again, Cadotte filled longings for a profound connection echoes these dualisms through the opposiwith nature. Cadotte’s pieces are moving, tion of flatness and texture, which produces unfinished narratives that can stop and much of the power contained in his work as start up again anywhere and at anytime; a whole. they physically embody that longing Though Cadotte’s most recent paintings famously expressed by Paul Cézanne: continue to mine these oppositions, they are “A minute in the world’s life passes! To less restrained by them formally, and appear become that minute!” (Berger: 1972) charged with energy. The landscape is now both simultaneously visible and indistinguishable, as if the artist is deliberately playing with our desire for clarity. Identifiable fragments of the outside world emerge on the horizon, but remain veiled and blurry, shimmering behind a representational fog. eter Kirkland’s work investigates the If in the earlier works, Cadotte’s use of fragstyle and forms of Symbolism, which ments evoked both physical and psychological are impressively redefined in his comexperiences of familiarity, here ghostly plex visual representations of the quasi-figshapes are meant to bring emotions into ures depicted in most of his pieces. The focus. Though these paintings display more complexity and power of his work derive in verve and vivacity than the earlier grid forms, part from his ability to produce images they do so with an uncharacteristic emotionthat evoke the apparently contradictory al heaviness. Their atmospheric depths procategories that emerge out of his dynamic duce a solemnity and create the impression forms and abstract harmonies. Kirkland’s of a landscape that is being injured and broken through a transformation Peter Kirkland – Painting for Alex, No. 1, 2002, 72" x 72" by some unknown power. Intersection (2000) and Transcription (2001) both possess a resilience and mass that capture something particular and yet universal. Cadotte’s compositions compel us to look closely in an effort to find something familiar in what are generic images of the landscape. The form of these recent pieces reinforces this process at another level: the diptychs are arranged so that one side appears as an abstraction of the painting beside it, a relationship of proximity and distance that together produce an interesting dialogue. In Circles and Loops (2000), for example, Cadotte places a painting of trees next to a fragment of a landscape, which produces a disjuncture from the familiar, and mimics the multiplicity that one experiences in a landscape: the shadows that appear and disap-

Peter Kirkland

P

Peter Kirkland – Assumption, 2000, 30" x 44" paintings are simultaneously opaque and ethereal, representational and abstract, mechanical and organic, active and inactive. Looking at his work, one cannot help but see traces of the work of Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore. His luminous disjointed floating forms introduce Moore’s twisting sculptures into the organicity produced by O’Keeffe’s choice of colour and light, creating unexpected juxtapositions. However, Kirkland’s mobile forms are laid over a more static background than O’Keeffe’s, producing complex spatial configurations that are both sensuous and disturbing. The light shifts over the surface of the pieces, creating an illusion of space similar to the way in which O’Keeffe paints each petal in detail, forcing the viewer to look deep into the flower. But while O’Keeffe’s use of seamless gradients of colour was meant to be descriptive of nature, Kirkland’s colours dematerialize his objects instead of insisting on their inescapable solidity. The materialization and dematerialization of forms is a key element of symbolist aesthetics, which generate their power out of the transformation of personal experiences and emotions into pictorial forms and expressions. This is the task of Kirkland’s work as well; it is a task at which he succeeds marvelously.

New Paintings The large scale of Kirkland’s most recent paintings compliments the rounded and complex images he continues to develop and explore. The forms appear more vital and whole in these larger spaces. The deep hues and velvety textures create a sustaining and mesmerizing compositional pattern that invites exploration and reflection. Kirkland’s new paintings are symbolic evocations of his impending parenthood.


These artists are possessed by their painting processes … they are simultaneously immersed within, and transported beyond, the mental and physical actions of applying and removing paint. When in the presence of their paintings we, the viewers, are drawn into their realities – we make them whole through our perception and subsequent search for meaning. In Painting for Alex No.4, recognizable forms float and shift in a dark, fluid-filled space. The image is similar to what one might expect to see in an ultra sound, or what one might imagine as a stage in the development of the human child. But to take all of these pieces only as depictions of embryonic development would be to understand Kirkland’s pieces too literally and descriptively, as the “real” meaning behind symbolic forms that are in fact intended to register deeper and more ambivalent expressions. Above all else, the artist’s emotional involvement in the creation of these forms comes through strongly. In contrast to the biomorphic images that are already present in Kirkland’s earlier pieces, his new paintings concentrate on the tension between the fluidity and movement of their central forms in contrast with the frame of the painting, which contains their movement within confined boundaries. In every case, Kirkland’s configurations stay within the painting, rather than enter from one area of the canvas and/or deviate to another. This in part creates the tight control and feelings of stasis that the paintings invoke at times. In No. 1, this element of immobility can be seen in the juxtaposition of a yellow organic shape against a reddish colour, which gives all the weight in the painting to the form. This molecular structure is painted with great intensity by Kirkland, who believes that it produces a resonance emblematic of the unknown. The large yellow form in this piece is deliberate and demanding apart from its abstract and flat shape; it remains luminous and radiant, symbolizing the transcendence of organic growth. On the other hand, the illusions of light and dark in Phrygian Cap creates a ghostly and additive effect on the transparent shapes that is drastically different from the solid and flat forms in No.1. In Kirkland’s earlier work, the transparent non-representational forms are eloquently painted with veils of light adding and subtracting intensity to different parts of the canvas. His ethereal shapes sometimes drip with paint and are strongly expressive: even though they are frozen in time, on the verge of shifting and moving, but unable by virtue of being fixed in paint. This is captured in Kirkland’s draw-

ings as well, but in a different fashion. There are specific areas in his drawings that convey the division between something real and imagined. In Assumption, body parts are transfigured into unusual forms that are then suspended on the paper. There are shapes that resemble fingers rising up from the bottom of the drawing, stretching out to the nebulous shapes hovering above them, creating a tension that is unresolved. The marks on Kirkland’s drawings are looser and bolder than his paintings, which bring about an effective synthesis of natural and imposed elements.

Process As Henry Moore once wrote, “because a work does not aim at reproducing natural appearances it is not, therefore, an escape from life – but may be a penetration into reality…an expression of the significance to greater effort in living” (Hunter: 1998). Kirkland’s work embodies this statement, looking deeply into life without feeling the need to reproduce it in a “life-like” manner. They come instead at the mysteries of life in another, deeper way. His figures look like the marine life imagined to live in the darkest depths of the ocean, or like images of the microscopic ephemeral organic material that our bodies are constantly creating, destroying, encountering and shedding. They symbolize a never-ending process: the continuity of life, the endless divisions of cells into new organisms. Kirkland has devised a perfect form in which to capture these processes. In his work, one shape morphs into another, receding and disappearing against a backdrop indifferent to its struggles. As viewers, our focus is pulled back and forth from figure to ground in a way that emphasizes that experience is always about both ephemerality and continuity, categories which themselves are unstable and indistinct: ground can equally stand as the figure. Though these central concerns will no doubt persist, we can expect that Kirkland’s work will transform with the changes that he is about to undergo in his life.

Maria Whiteman

The Burlington Art Centre Our Vision:

Our Principles and Values:

• Inspiring imagination, enriching lives.

We believe…

Our Mission Statement:

Openness and Accessibility

The Burlington Art Centre champions the role and value of art in life. We provide diverse experiences and discovery as a leading and sustainable organization through: • Nurturing artistic development • Being a home to our art and fine craft guilds and groups • Exhibition and education programs, special events and community outreach services • Our acclaimed permanent collection of ceramic art • Volunteer and active community participation opportunities • Retail services, memberships and corporate partnerships

In being open to new ideas, opportunities and insights, as well as being accessible to all members of our community related to their interests, needs and capacities.

Entrepreneurial and Innovating In creating art and fine craft opportunities and experiences that encourage individuals to take risks, explore new territory, to be forward thinking and to act on their inspirations.

Committed to Art and a Learning Culture In nurturing and evolving a learning culture of educational, research and practice experiences and discovery that advances the knowledge of and a commitment to art and fine crafts within residents, the Centre and the community.

Bibliography 1. Berger, John. (1972) Ways of Seeing, London and Harmondsworth: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books, pp 31-32. 2. Hunter, Sam, John Jacobus and Daniel Wheeler. (1998) Modern Art, Prentice Hall N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, pp 237-239, pp 394-395.

Process & Presence Paintings byRobert Cadotte & Peter Kirkland

Cover Photos (top to bottom) Peter Kirkland – Detail of “Painting for Alex, No. 1”, 2002 Peter Kirkland – Detail of “Painting for Alex, No. 2”, 2002 Robert Cadotte – Detail of “Intersection”, 2000 Robert Cadotte – Detail of “Short Form & Contraction”, 2001

Acknowledgements The Burlington Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial support of our Membership, Corporate Members and Sponsors; the BAC Foundation; Arts Burlington; the Volunteer Council; the City of Burlington; the Ontario Arts Council; The Canada Council for the Arts; and the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage. Special thanks to the Bau-Xi and Michael Gibson Galleries for the loan of Robert Cadotte’s paintings.

1333 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington Ontario L7S 1A9 Telephone: (905) 632-7796 • Fax: (905) 632-0278 Email: info@BurlingtonArtCentre.on.ca • Website: www.BurlingtonArtCentre.on.ca Curator’s Tour: Monday, September 30, 2 pm Exhibition Reception: Sunday, October 6, 2 pm Artists’ Tour and Talk: Monday, October 7, 7 pm Curator: George Wale Guest Writer: Maria Whiteman, McMaster University Publication Design: Wordsmith Design and Advertising ISBN 0-919752-88-8

September 29 to November 10, 2002


Burlington Art Centre - Process & Presence  

Burlington Art Centre Process & Presence BrochurePaintings by Robert Cadotte & Peter Kirkland

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