News : 2014

"ArtPic: Powerful exhibit from longtime Edmonton artist Phil Darrah"
Fish Griwkowsky for the Edmonton Journal
11/21/2014

 

 

 

 

Detail of the top of Phil Darrah’s Dog Fight, up at his Recent Works show opening Saturday at 2 at Peter Robertson Gallery,

12304 Jasper Ave.

 

Photograph by: Fish Griwkowsky, Fish Griwkowsky

 

Artist: Phil Darrah

 

Artwork: Dog Fight, acrylic and paper on canvas,

              44” x 23”

 

Show: Recent Work, opens Saturday 2 p.m. with artist present,  

             running through Dec. 9

 

 

Gallery: Peter Robertson Gallery, 12304 Jasper Ave.

 

With his ornamental and calligraphic abstracts, longtime Edmonton painter Phil Darrah was a familiar professor around the University of Alberta for decades. He’s also well known for his monolithic Calix at the Winspear Centre.

 

Retired from teaching for a decade now, the 74-year-old’s show at Peter Robertson Gallery Gallery splashes loose, expressive lines that openly defy the crisp runways of paper beneath, all in motion over

fields of liquid colour. They’re simple and powerful. This particular work, long and vertical, was named for Darrah’s memory of seeing Paul Nash’s 1941 magic realist painting The Battle of Britain during his childhood in native England — look up that expressive painting.

 

“I grew up admiring a lot of painters from the early 20th century, in particular Paul Nash,” he explains. “I first encountered him as a student at the Imperial War Museum in London. As a young boy my mother made vivid descriptions of the fights over Selsey near Sussex. The titles come quite a long time after the paintings are finished and framed.

 

“Literary people don’t always get the way dumb visual people work,” he laughs. “There are signposts and boundary markers painters will want to look at from time to time.”

 

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