Sideways Drift Curatorial Statement

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Curator: John Brown, Artist

March 14 - April 3, 2007
Opening: Visual Arts Ontario Gallery Saturday, March 17 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

What happens in the studio is different from what we see in an exhibition. In an exhibition we see more than finished works, we see work that has been selected, edited, grouped together to hopefully present a coherent statement by the artist. What we miss are the wrong turns, the peripheral sightings and the sideways drift of making things.

In Podeswa’s work, the act of making a painting is not hidden. The wrong turns are apparent in the whiting out of mistakes or obvious corrections in the paintings. The curatorial process for this exhibition followed a similar circuitous path from its original concept. Despite my intent for a themed show, I found I was drawn to paintings that seemed to be anomalies, things that didn’t fit yet were somehow familiar. When I went to the studio to make a final selection, there was a new group of small works. They were beautiful paintings – and they changed the way I viewed the work and the show.

What I was seeing was a linkage from Portrait of YM to the newest paintings. Both the portrait and the new works are selective - objects or views are fragmented, pulled from different sources and placed into the frame of the painting. A new reality has been assembled from what is there and what isn’t. Scale is distorted, buildings in the distance have been brought close, space is collapsed and colour is fluid.

These paintings seem very much about painting: an active engagement with the history of painting (Fra Angelica by way of Morandi, Cezzane or Rembrandt) and - in the way they present selected views - a metaphor for the process of painting itself, which is always about what is left out as much as what is put in. In Podeswa’s work, the viewer is given the task of finishing or not finishing the picture. The drawing that is visible in the work points to possible ways of completing it, but Podeswa is generous as an artist and you are always allowed to push or pull things in a different direction. What are left in the paintings are visible signs of the process of making them. Paradoxically these signs of making are left in by leaving much of the making out.

John Brown, 2007