“My paintings explore a relationship between figurative and abstraction in order to meld unconscious probing and stylistic innovation with a meditative figural base.”
Wednesday 9 November 2022
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery
Reception on Thurs 17 Nov 6PM-8PM
My art training began in diapers with crayons in a family that promoted it. My mum kept at me to focus on some talent she saw in this direction, but I rebelled by going to business school. At age 27, I changed direction to spend a year building a portfolio to gain entrance into the Graphic Design & Illustration Program at Cap College in North Vancouver. This was an amazing experience for me, although a growing love for life drawing and painting had me heed my favourite instructor, Kiff Holland‘s words to go to the Art Students League in New York City. Which I did from 1997 to 2002.
Full time training here from the human model, followed by working in the abstract painting studios of Bill Scharf and Frank O’Cain, began to meld a way of working and a style that projected into the future. Bill Scharf, having been the studio assistant to Mark Rothko, and working himself from an extension and growth out of the Abstract Expressionist movement, allowed me to follow my own direction, but where he would ‘hop on your boat’ and throw out suggestions and cause altered perspectives in working with and thinking about colour, composition, and process. Frank O’Cain’s mystical aesthetics further shook up and helped to morph new ways of approaching combinations of plan and exploration, representation with abstraction, and form into colour. Working at the end of this New York period upstairs in the printmaking studio of Richard Pantell, considerations for exploration and new materials were further enhanced.
Following 9-11 and another year in the city, attempts at obtaining an artist visa in a clamped down city proved too restrictive, and so I listened to a long time urge to move north to Toronto to be in a thriving art community with an artist sister and writer aunt. Those 5 years in Toronto were good to me in getting more involved in my studio and practice. A baby on the way led me out of the big city and up to Thunder Bay for the birth of a beautiful daughter. A deepening love for the land came out of my short time in this amazing location on the north shore of Lake Superior. With a migration to the Niagara region soon after came several more years now continuing to explore new directions in new studio settings, and I am currently working in a large communal studio space in downtown St. Catharines. This Niagara Artists Centre initiated multi space has become an inspiring setting to be creating a lot of new work in varied size, motif, and perspective.
My paintings explore a relationship between figurative and abstraction in order to meld unconscious probing and stylistic innovation with a meditative figural base. It’s important to me that the paintings work well as collections of shape, colour, texture, and energy; while also building a compelling image. Working with people and motifs from my personal world, I focus continuously on maintaining a balance between plan and accident, known and unknown, restraint and exuberance. My figures look out as much into mindscape as landscape.
My paintings have been shown in New York City, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, the Niagara region, Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Sweden, Norway, and Trinidad.
– Geoff Farnsworth