About the Artists
Andy Dixon is hyper-aware of art’s relationship with money. Signifiers of wealth abound in his large acrylic paintings, which take as their subjects stately lords, reclining nudes, ornate ballrooms, bathing beauties, and prominent paintings of the aforementioned motifs. Borrowing content from Renaissance art, Flemish still lifes, and Google Image searches of "most expensive vases", his subject matter is selected on the basis of public expectation of what an expensive painting should look like. By sampling content verified as valuable by the market, Dixon positions his own work to ask, "What is the value of a painting of a valuable object?"
Our value of art is truly a phenomenon that operates on a set of rules distinct from the ones that govern the rest of our world. Paintings which feature the tropes Dixon samples from perhaps at one time had social or political agency but are now simply commodities assigned value by the highest bidder. Paintings of expensive things are themselves expensive things collected by the wealthy to promote the luxury lifestyle. However, Dixon isn't out to mock the affluent. Rather, he is a complicit player in the game; his larger paintings of upper class social scenes tend to feature his own previous paintings hanging on the walls in the background.
For the past number of years, Bradley Harms has taken a leading role in a new and forward-looking wave of Canadian abstraction. He has built upon traditions within the medium, whilst also creating work that reflects and critiques contemporary social and technological developments. Harms' work addresses the manner in which we perceive painting: manipulating the ideas of surface, form, and our notion of perfection."The paintings, although appearing close to the technically perfect, always fall short in that they subtly betray the human hand in their production. Invariably, the lines and marks wobble and waver. I think of this work as trying to deny the gestural mark, but never able to transcend it. This notion of striving for perfection but never really achieving it instills the work with a sense of humanity that I find gratifying metaphorically. Wherein Modernism was concerned with purity, my work could be seen as its contemporary redheaded stepchild… Wobbly Modernism… Quite impure!” -Bradley Harms
Bradley Harms received his BFA from the University of Calgary in 1996 and his Masters of Fine Arts from the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. Harms has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, as well as on the international stage, including Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Munich, Sydney, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Originally from Montreal, Fiona Ackerman is a painter living and working in Vancouver, BC. Since completing her BFA through Concordia and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Ackerman has exhibited across Canada and in Europe. She received an honorable mention for the Kingston Prize for Canadian Portraiture in 2009, and was included in Carte Blanche 2: Painting, a survey and showcase painting in Canada (published by The Magenta Foundation, fall 2008). Most recently she was featured in the Jealous Curator’s new publication, entitled “Creative Block”, published by Chronicle Books, and was longlisted in the 2015 Sobey Art Awards.
While Ackerman’s work is diverse in style, it is deeply rooted in the practice of painting. Whether working on a wild abstract piece or a delicately rendered portrait, her approach is at once playful and meticulous. Through her painting, Fiona is continually reinventing the way she represents her world, her environment and the places of her imagination. In 2016, she showcased her studio still lifes in a dual exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery entitled “Mimetic Workshop”, a study into the inner workings of the artist’s studio. Another exhibition of more new works will take place at Winsor Gallery in November of 2016.
About her work she writes:
My work has always been a balance between loose, expressionist painting and precise, meticulous editing and composing. In these works, playful compositions made on random pieces of paper are treated with calculated exactness. By rendering the collection with meticulous accuracy onto the canvas’ surface, taking into account placing and shadows, I wanted to explore the tension between the raw, dirtiness of painting, and the exactitude of composition, the relationship between chance and deliberation.
These paintings ask the viewer to blur the line between what we know, and what we believe. As a sensory experiment, we are asked to see both the lightness and temporariness of a paper instillation on the wall, and the unchanging permanence of painting. This 'captured moment' is a clear reference to photography while the content reminds us that in fact, painting is the true subject.
Charles Rea has been an important player in the Vancouver painting scene for more than twenty years. Introduced in the Vancouver Art Gallery group show “The Young Romantics” in 1985, Rea’s art practice has since followed many diverse paths, making use of varying, often unconventional materials. On a fundamental level, Rea’s works can be interpreted as explorations of space and structure, each series becoming the physical manifestation of the artists’ meditation on a distinct perspective. By observing how Rea chooses to construct his compositions, his representation of depth and distance, positive and negative space, a feeling of disorientation can be identified. Ultimately, each piece prompts a response from the viewer to maintain equilibrium in what results as a subtly disconcerting visual experience.
Charles Rea attended the Vancouver School of Art in 1979. He has exhibited extensively and is included in many private and corporate collections, including the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Canada Council Art Bank. Recently his work has been exhibited extensively across Canada. His most recent exhibition, entitled Parataxis, was a group show that took place at Winsor Gallery in 2013.