Because we are a Canadian-run publication and we admire those who continue to work with the arguably dated medium of paint, in the arguably dismal landscape of the Canadian art-world, we have decided to do a week-long feature on some of our favorite current Canadian painters, in no particular order. Stay tuned this week to see who we believe to be among the greatest established and emerging painters the Great White North has to offer!
To Keyt (with love), 2015
geetha thurairajah’s paintings meet us somewhere between back-alley mural and early internet animation. Sometimes they are digital and sometimes they are regular old paint-on-canvas. Utilizing airbrushing or collage techniques, or working with a tablet to illustrate and animate digital paintings, all of her works possess a dimensional quality that makes viewing them feel like a test in depth perception. With a light morbidity and vibrant simplicity, geetha’s paintings have a literal and experiential sense of movement that makes them intriguingly unconventional and contemporary. – Olivia Whittick
Passing of the Olive Branch, 2015
Where did you grow up? What was the landscape like?
I grew up in Waterloo, ON, a suburban city with farms, the Blackberry headquarters and two universities.
Do you think being Canadian has had any impact on your work?
Definitely. I think I’m always responding to not really knowing what it means to be Canadian.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
Airbrush, spray paint and acrylic. I use a Wacom tablet to draw which is really tricky because I can get rid of mistakes too easily…it’s kind of a bad attitude to have with painting so I’m trying really hard to stop using the eraser as much.
What themes do you work with, if any?
Escapism, technological lust, hybrid cultures…
Swimming for Idols, 2015
Casting Back, 2015
Cargo Fantasies, 2015
Are you inspired by any Canadian painters?
Annie Pootoogook is pretty amazing.
Is there any one painter who has influenced your work more than others?
I don’t really have a single painter in mind but Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti period has had a huge impact on my work. Conceptually, it feels like I’m always reacting against it.
Are you drawn to any particular historical art movement?
I’m drawn to how the Symbolists thought about painting. Their rituals around subjectivity and the expression of ideas over naturalism were the first historical principals in painting that really meant something to me.
Do you consider your work to be political?
I think my skepticism around painting is pretty clear in my treatment of the work but I also believe that it comes from having never seen myself as part of its history unless subjected by it. So I would say I’m political in so far as I believe it’s my responsibility to make paintings that aren’t burdened or stuck in the history of the medium.
What do you think is missing from the Canadian art scene?
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