Steve Driscoll : Exhibitions

Steve Driscoll : And a Dark Wind Blows

October 14 - November 05, 2016

The Peter Robertson Gallery in Edmonton is pleased to present Steve Driscoll: And a Dark Wind Blows, a suite of new contemporary landscape paintings by the highly regarded Toronto artist. Presented as an immersive installation featuring an artificial lake and boardwalk, the show opens Friday, October 14 (reception 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.) and runs through Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

The centerpiece of the show, the monumental These Are Truly the Last Days (title borrowed from a song by Montreal post-rock orchestra, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) presents an ecstatic vision of the northern lights. Created using Driscoll’s favoured medium of pigmented urethane, the three-panel painting contains passages of unsurpassed beauty, as swirling eddies of green, blue, purple and yellow-gold suggest nebulas, galaxies and rivulets of shimmering stardust, below a star-filled sky. Positioned at the long end of the gallery, it may be viewed from a wooden boardwalk over the flooded gallery floor, or seen more intimately from a small floating raft accessed by stepping stones. “The aim of altering the gallery space is to throw the viewer off kilter, to channel a bit of that childlike sense of wonderment we experience in the face of the natural sublime,” says Driscoll, a veteran of many deep woods camping trips. “I want to evoke that feeling of the wind blowing against you, of being excited, exalted in the presence of natural power.” Other pieces in the show will explore evening and nocturnal celestial phenomena such as low sunsets, constellations, the Milky Way, or the last vestiges of light peeping through the clouds at twilight. As the boardwalk winds through the gallery space, viewers will be able to contemplate individual works at their leisure.

Steve Driscoll is an award-winning Toronto-based painter who has had more than twenty-five solo exhibitions and has participated in group shows throughout North America. Upcoming shows include Gallery Stratford, the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg and the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound. Driscoll has executed many commissions, is keenly sought after by collectors, and has been featured in Canadian Art, dART International, The Telegram (NL), NOW Magazine, Toronto Star, CBC TV and ArtSync TV. Publications include the 2012 monograph intelligence with the earth, with text by Gary Michael Dault, and 2014’s Giving Context.


Actually, Everything is Just About the Same

May 01 - May 19, 2015

 

 

 

 

Actually, Everything is Just About the Same

Peter Robertson Gallery, Edmonton

 

Opening Receptions

 

Friday, May 1st from 7-9 pm

Saturday, May 2 from 2-4 pm

Artist in attendance 

 

In his latest body of work, artist Steve Driscoll tips us off to what's going on by borrowing the show's title from a lyric by American songwriter John Prine. "Actually everything is just about the same" reflects a serial approach, in which the artist presents variations of four images of the Canadian wilderness, each painted in his signature medium of pigmented urethane.

 

The sets represent moments from a canoe trip in Ontario's Algonquin Park, a setting that looms large within Canadian art history as Group of Seven territory. Rocks along a shoreline and a waterfall are seen from the vantage point of the artist/voyageur as he paddles down a river. A canoe moored by the shore and a view of water glimpsed through a clearing in the trees represent the "land" portion of the journey.

 

It might sound like familiar turf, but rather than tread down the same path as his artistic forebears, Driscoll presents a new form of landscape painting, one that acknowledges the digitally mediated view of nature so pervasive today. These sets of scenic splendors call to mind Instagram, where images are experienced as sequences. The waterfall in the Exchanging Gravity for Faith series is observed from different angles, suggesting the continually snapping shutter that is the ubiquitous soundtrack to nature excursions in the 21st century. Variations in cyan, magenta and purple arise from the artificial realms of photography and colour printing. But the exuberant spills and splashes of white that cascade down the surface of the falls evoke the fresh, cold spray of the great outdoors.

 

The vivacity of painting handling in evidence here Driscoll credits in part to his restricted image repertoire — by thinking less about the scene, he’s freed himself up to concentrate on process. "This work is about painting, not about documenting a particular landscape," says the artist, who gets at his brilliant painterly effects through continually experimenting, expanding and refining his techniques. In the series depicting a rocky shore seen from paddler’s viewpoint, Driscoll digs deeply into one of his favourite subjects, namely how water reflects the landscape that surrounds it. Using a dazzling variety of brushstrokes and colours he deftly captures the quality of shimmering light and shifting hues that indicate different times of the day, different seasons, or even different states of mind, as in a landscape of memory rather than of fact.

 

Driscoll mines the expressive possibilities of colour in views of a far shore seen through a tree-lined path. Here palettes range from psychedelic to naturalistic, resulting in an engaging study in how colour affects mood. The viewer’s response to each work may also offer keys to their own psychic state. Is this landscape in flaming orange and deep browns a vision of late afternoon, a day in early fall, or perhaps a metaphor for growing older? By working in series, Driscoll asks people to slow down and really consider an image, to play compare and contrast, and to ponder the infinite variety possible in both life and art.

 

 


High Water

October 12 - October 29, 2013

High Water, Steve Driscoll’s inaugural solo exhibition at Peter Robertson Gallery, presents contemporary landscape utilizing the industrial material urethane to stunning effect. The translucency of swirling poured urethane is overlain with opaque swipes of vibrant, often jewel-toned colour. Dynamic dots and dashes function as light and shadow dancing across the landscape. According to the artist, “the passage of time is what urethane depicts so well. Its fluidity holds the minute details of a landscape in motion. The flow of the material is much like a tree trembling in the wind, or a constantly shifting reflection on the water’s surface. This medium gives the works a liquid quality, which appears to have frozen moments before being hung on the wall.” Inspired by a series of camping and canoeing trips affected by unseasonable flooding in Ontario in the spring of 2013, High Water looks at lake water in abundance. The resulting collection presents the majesty and power of flowing water set against the horizon.