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The Point Is: Pierre Coupey, Landon MacKenzie, Martin Pearce, Bernadette Phan, Bryan Ryley

Liz Wylie

Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC, August 20. 2011
Artist Statement for catalogue

Abstraction asks of us to gather our knowledge from a different place than through our usual rational reductive processes, and requests that we feel our way into the territory that confronts us, whether this be visual or auditory. It is not a mistake to think that abstraction ‘represents’ things, as indeed it does, however what it represents can only be accessed through one’s emotive intelligence or ‘felt’ knowledge. Often this is referred to as the ‘intuitive’ self, that place where instinct informs us of direction and gives location to our reasoning. Few of us are accustomed to this way of experiencing phenomena, and we grope for anchors in concrete thought, for associations that ‘mean’ something, things that will help us to arrive at a conclusion, putting an end to the experience and giving a sense of achieved understanding. 

Abstraction does not operate with these kinds of ends in sight. Rather it operates in a larger aspect, a bigger picture if you will, a place that does not allow for conclusiveness. Openness to a continuum, going along for the ride, is all it asks of us. Along this open path of experience, episodes of seemingly personal recognition will emerge, sometimes fleeting, sometimes persistent. Associations will be felt, tensions created, both physiological and psychological, and from these impulses the language of abstraction is accessed. It is a language of belief and awareness that goes beyond the written word.


The three paintings presented in The Point Is circulate for me around a triad of individuals who have been and are mentors for me, and who represent values of human decency and progressiveness that I applaud. One is my father, one a modern musical composer, the third a painter. All three believed in truth as the anchor of experience and equality, as the elixir of society. Structure was uppermost for each, either as a form to challenge or a scaffolding to erect. Each painting directs itself at these issues, albeit in different ways and for different emphases. Morty Feldman, Morty Feldman finds its voice within a repetitive structure set against two major components that are the inverse of each another. Are these equal or are they different? Algebra for the Practical Man has in both its colour and structure a kind of ‘deadening’ tone, alluding to a sort of requiem. Yet there exists in its grid a measure of stability and continuum suggesting this condition may be everlasting. Conspirators is named after an early and important painting by Philip Guston, an early one of his Klan pieces, where figures are shrouded, intentions obscured. The cloaking of the space in this work forms a territory of suffocation and of openness, as I move from one pole or one side, to the other. Rich in material yet restrained in information, it builds emotional tensions that swing from fear to elation.


For me art must provoke multiple thoughts, shift awareness, and trigger associations that at times evoke deep emotions. If the experience is productive, none of this is conclusive, with no suggestion of finality or solution, allowing the mind to continue on.


My intention is only to offer structures upon which one may ride. 

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