Steve Driscoll : Press

"Artist, Patriot, Explorer"
Source: Current Magazine
Published: 08/20/2010
Author: Debby Winters

The first thing that strikes you is the color, the effective use of contrast and the three
dimensional feel of the painting. They?re a mixture of abstract and surreal creating a
processed visual image. You want to reach out and touch them. Steve Driscoll has been
painting since he was a teenager, starting with landscapes and traditional artist
mediums. As he dove into the creative process, he found himself more interested in the
paint than the picture. This brought him on an amazing journey through the use and
manipulation of different media and the creation of beautiful and breathtaking works of
art. Driscoll is also a Canadian to his roots, based in Toronto, he shows in museums on
both the east and west coasts. “I am a Canadian artist. I paint my surroundings and love
where I am. I have showed internationally but it?s always the most fun to show at home.
This fall will be lots of fun because I get the chance to show in St. John?s first,
Vancouver second, then Toronto. Most of the year I spend my time in an artificially lit
box staring at the wall and waiting for paint to dry. This is what I do because it is my
love, but getting to show it off and meet new people is always a blast.”You will be able to
see these works at his exhibition at Bianca?s on Water Street opening Thursday, August
26 and continuing through September. Driscoll describes the beginning of his creative
adventure; “As I learned more about the materials, my work changed. There has always
been a relationship between learning something new in the studio and a new
experience in life. As I find new ways to use the paint or a new colour my eyes open to
my surroundings. I notice more things in day-to-day life that relate to that new find in the
Current Mag - August 20th - September 3rd, 2010 (Cover)
studio. The reverse is also true. I find an image or scene that I have no idea how I would
translate to paint, and that starts an experimentation in the studio. That is how the
process has been working up to now.”Drawing inspiration from some of his favourite
artists, Patterson Ewen, Peter Doig, David Milne, Tom Thompson as well as the world
around him, Driscoll creates non-static visual images ranging from smaller canvases to
giant breathtaking works of art like Canopy - a painting of a group of birch trees
surround by the golden hue of fall leaves. The painting literally draws you in as if you
were standing in a forest of the silver and yellow clothed trees. To Driscoll size matters,
at least when choosing the size of a finished piece, “I find that particular images
demand certain sizes. Small works tend to be more intimate and the images become
more like memories, small and stored away. Grand scale works are more about an
experience, less about the specific, they tend to encompass the viewer in an
environment. I like working in a relatively large format because you must confront the
painting much as you would a tree in front of you. Some of the most recent inspirations
have been trips into the woods. I love portaging and camping, and have drawn many
influences and images from trips that I have been on. I have a real fondness to road
trips and the small towns along the way. Sites I see in passing always give me joy,”
Driscoll explains.Behind the House may have come from one of these trips. This 33” x
44” piece depicts a home in winter, focusing on the garage, with the warm the of colour
emanating from within. A cluster of birch trees in the front lends suggestion of the
location as being rural and close to the woods. Evening Freeze also brings you on a
wilderness journey. The dark silhouette of trees outlined against a bright fuchsia sunset
as they rim a partially frozen pond with the almost liquid reflection in the yet unfrozen
water edged by sliver thin ice; abstract, yet tangible. Driscoll utilizes the industrial
material urethane in his works; he explains he began his experiment with this medium.
“I used it to seal in a drawing one time, spilled some in a bucket of water, that held my
butts, and it made a skin on the surface. A few weeks later, I had a 4? x 9? pool of water
in my studio and I was pouring the stuff intentionally. Six months later, I had a pool of
just urethane with 70 gallons in it. My way of using it has changed over the years. I think
I liked the idea that it wasn?t a traditional art medium so no one could teach me anything
about it. I had to learn from the ground up, and I?m still learning new things even after
ten years.”When asked if there are other mediums he?d like to experiment with Driscoll
says, “yes, I?m very excited to build a stone wall. I don?t think it?ll end up in a show but it
is just one of my obsessions. I?m sure my paint and the ways I use it will change on a
frequent basis. If they don?t then I will just get bored, and what is the fun of that.”