New Work by Drew Klassen at Gallery Page & Strange
Halifax, NS: October 3, 2011… An exhibition of new work by artist Drew Klassen opened at Gallery Page and Strange in Halifax on September 30 and will run through October 21. Based primarily on Klassen’s travels in Europe, East Asia and Cuba, the new paintings are dense, gestural renderings of his experiences of both natural and human-made environments. The result is a fluid, restless interplay between representation and abstraction, and a new phase in the artist’s evolution.
“The new exhibit shows how Klassen is evolving and refining his style,” said Victoria Page, co-owner of Gallery Page and Strange. “The feeling is lighter and more abstract than his last show.”
While inspired by scenes from real life, such as a suburban street, a beachfront resort, or the tangled undergrowth of near-equatorial forests, Klassen’s recent paintings cannot easily be characterized as landscape. Some of the work describes recognizable, almost generic vistas, but elsewhere the view is almost lost behind densely layered brushwork; and in his Borgesian series of ‘studies for an imaginary painting,’ all that remains is a richly developed network of lines, patches, smears and layers.
“Some places suggest a setting for drama or narrative, while others offer themselves as absorptive, contemplative environments,” said Klassen. “The degree to which an image develops or dissipates is always a little unpredictable when I start a new work, but regardless of how far a painting strays from specificity, I work with the intent that the experience of viewing the painting is, in some way, a transposition of my experience of a particular place.”
“Klassen’s paintings capture both chaos and order as he deconstructs landscapes in a sophisticated and artistic way,” explains Page. “For example, in ‘Study for an Imaginary Painting’ we see nice, clear lines emerging from the tangles. He seems to be moving away from the landscape. To me it feels like this could be a next step for him: a hint of where his work is going.”
Above all, Klassen wants to tell stories about what he sees: “Painterly issues aside,” he said, “I feel there’s often a kind of quiet intrigue lying not far beneath the surface of places that may appear mundane at first glance. All these paintings, representational or not, are about getting past that first glance.’
‘Drew Klassen: New Work’ shows at Gallery Page and Strange in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from September 30th to October 21st, 2011.
About Drew Klassen
Originally from Toronto, Drew Klassen grew up in Winnipeg before moving to Halifax in 1986 to study drawing and sculpture at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. A self-taught painter, he began exhibiting his work in Japan in the mid 1990s. On returning to Canada in 1998 he immersed himself in his studio practise and began exhibiting regularly. Klassen’s work is held in numerous private collections in Canada and abroad, and in several institutional collections, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. In 2010 he received one of five Established Artist Recognition Awards from the government of Nova Scotia. He is represented by Gallery Page and Strange in Halifax, and currently lives and works in Ottawa.
About Gallery Page and Strange
Gallery Page and Strange is a contemporary visual arts gallery located in the Historic Granville Square in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. In close proximity to NSCAD University, the gallery is situated within the heart of the cultural district of the city. Victoria Page and Victoria Strange launched the gallery in 2005, showcasing established and emerging artists in Canada.