The Obscured Horizon Curatorial Statement

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Artist: Howard Podeswa
Exhibition: The Obscured Horizon

“Like Medrie MacPhee, Howard Podeswa uses the urban landscape as fodder for psychological meanderings. The complexity of the city mirrors that of our own psyche. Podeswa, another student of Hugh Mackenzie’s, breaks the picture plane into bands or layers of visual activity, which we view from an empirical perspective, floating above the ground. It is a seemingly Canadian fracturing of the land, which separates it into long bands of unobstructed sky, rooftops, street, ground and below. This layering is more faithful to the artist’s roving eye than to the literal scene. He layers the surface of the paintings heavily with exquisite areas of overpainting and scumbling that reveal more colour than they hide. The expressive brushwork displays a confident abandon as appropriate to depicting a city as Temple’s slick application or Thauberger’s measured contemplative approach.

Rising from this mesmerizing painted surface are figures from the artist’s dreams. These spectres involved in cryptic gestures appear like sentinels on rooftops or in dark passages. As in Canadian Malt I, (Man Facing South), these anonymous figures are not inhabitants of the landscape – their scale betrays them. Rather, they are ephemeral elements, like memories or even warnings, but still integral to this city scene. Like MacPhee, Podeswa adopts the tenets of the industrial metropolis and uses them to his own ends.”

Stuart Reid, Curator, Art Gallery of Mississauga, 1993