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VISUAL ARTIST

 

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

 

  The natural world has always been my wellspring of inspiration. Memories of exploring the forests of my youth can still flood my senses with the sounds and smells of those wild places on the edge of suburbia. Like many of us however, traveling down the intersecting avenues and returning to the comfort of my home every night, the wild remained very much “other worldly." As a young man, a longing for a deeper connection with nature later took me, through job experiences and personal trips, to many remote areas of B.C. and Manitoba. These years just before, during and after art school, were ones of soul searching and of gathering experience along the path to finding my voice as an artist.

 

 "In the Rainforest" , (detail), acrylic on canvas, 82" x 104", 1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pursuit of a deeper connection with nature is one that I know many people share. Perhaps our increasingly urban existence leaves more of us desiring this. Indeed to better understand our place within the natural order is arguably the most important issue of our age. This longing to touch the soul of nature and to examine our societal relationship with it has been the central theme in my work as an artist.

 

    My paintings hint at these issues through a kind of heightened realism. Images appearing firmly grounded in physical reality at the same time somehow go beyond the surface appearance tugging the viewer into the realm of memory and dream.

 

 

 

 

"Crossing", acrylic on panel, 16"x 22", 1999

 

 

 

 One of the most frequently reoccurring themes in my landscape painting has been water. Always a difficult subject, water's illusive qualities constantly challenge my abilities as an artist. Perhaps it is the impossibility of the task which continually brings me back. In the painting on the right I have attempted to show both the depth of the crystal clear water and its ever-changing  surface by layering dozens of layers of transparent color.  

 

 

 

 

 

"Liquid Gold", acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40", 2005
 

  

 

 

 

 

"#8, Sunnyside Series", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 72", 2009 

 

For the past 9 years I have been working on what has now become my largest series to date, the "Sunnyside Series." The initial inspiration for this series came from my favourite shoreline of Cultus Lake which is a short walk from my home. There is something magical about the light along this side of the lake known as "Sunnyside." In the late afternoon when the sun is low, a light double in intensity streams in from both above and reflecting off the water -  into the trees, creating a wonderfully intense light source with strong shadows and brilliant colour. It's wonderful to either walk or ride my bike along this stretch of shoreline to soak up this warm afternoon light. After a long period of dark skies and rain (which we often get in this part of the world) this experience is particularly powerful and rejuvenating.

 

"#26, Sunnyside Series, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 36", 2012

This series has also seen me return to another great interest of mine - the forest. The long rich associations I have with the forest evoke a profound joy in me when I get a chance to paint them. It's a place that truly feels like home. There is also a  fascination with the point at which the tree and the earth collide: where the horizontal meets the vertical and where the outer and inner worlds intersect.

 

 

The Sunnyside Series has also seen me strip away much of the detail of previous work to concentrate more on form, color and light. This distilling of information to the core elements is what I believe aids in taking these paintings beyond the physical world to impact the viewer on a different level. Unlike the experience of viewing reality or a photograph, it is my intention to instead evoke the dream like quality that only remembered experience can give - like a fond remembrance or the chance hearing of an old song from your past. That flood to the senses of heightened memory is the rich vein I am attempting to tap.

Gary Haggquist  2017

 

 

"#34, Sunnyside Series", acrylic on canvas, 18" x 72", 2017