PoHo Artist Statement

View Series


“The act of observing changes that which is observed.”
- A corollary of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

This series is concerned with disappearance. As an artist - an observer whose appearance in a neighbourhood often leads to the disappearance both of the neighbourhood and the artist - the issue of disappearance has personal resonance.

The series was initiated by a studio move from the textile district to the city’s historic outdoor market (Kensington Market). In my former location in the textile district, I had been painting neighbouring rooftops from my studio windows. Buildings were often renovated while I was still working on them. My strategy for dealing with this was to “white them out”. Just how much disappeared and what remained through this “gentrification" of the painting became an important aspect for me as I worked on each piece. It had parallels both in my urban subject and in the personal gentrification that happens during the “middle age” years when one decides what “baggage” to keep and what to throw away.

A sub-plot of the project has been the revenge of the disappeared or soon-to-be-disappeared. The soon-to-be-disappeared of the Market include its fruits and vegetables - who in these paintings wage a guerrilla campaign against their enemies.

The first piece of the series was a view of the south-western area of the city – a largely textile district caught in the act of gentrification. The most recent piece, produced in my Market studio, is an homage to the former Kensington Brazil Mediterranean Café, which was transformed from a Mom-and-Pop Portuguese restaurant to a trendy café while I have been painting it over the past year. (I used to enjoy going there and watched sadly as it slipped through its owners’ grasp.) Future works in this series will continue to chronicle the process of gentrification and disappearance and my relation to it as observer, unwitting catalyst and (probably) - eventual victim.

Howard Podeswa
August, 2001