2008 - 21’sWhat if ...
I reincarnate the 40’s Spatialist Movement into a modern idiom.

Just prior to the Robert Genn episode that follows, with a background in sculpture and product design, I had begun to question the age old tradition of painting on a two dimensional flat surface. Canvas can be stretched many ways. Stretcher bars don’t have to be straight!

I tested an idea! As part of producing Giclees for myself and others, I had to fabricate, stretch and staple over 100 canvases a year. I took the opportunity to experiment with the art of making the stretcher bars with washboard and angled surfaces, stretching the canvas every which way, inserting canvases into other canvases. Basically, just experimenting with a stick & fabric.

Over time I have completed a dozen structured art pieces from primitive to complex. I’ve shown, as I call them, “Spatialist Nouveau” works in several venues including TOSH, Kay Meek Center, West Vancouver City Hall, The Ferry Building Gallery and the Federation Gallery on Granville Island.

The first major piece began by fabricating stretcher bars in a 1” diameter washboard shape top and bottom only! I then measured the space between the curves accurately. I transferred the measurements of the multi curved surface to a flat stretched canvas, created a grid and painted the canvas. The secret was to stretched the canvas vertically only.

The piece is titled “The Space Between” and joins 9 other structured pieces which are destined for my June show at the MAC in Parksville. Some of the pieces require the individual to actively participate in viewing the work by walking past slowly and looking at it from both sides.

The closest thing I could find to these structured canvas creations was a movement in the late 1940’s called the Spatialists. They stated “we refuse toaccept science and art as two distinct
phenomenon”. Unfortunately, at one of their last openings, they went about slashing all their paintings. Their demise soon followed.

So, with respect, I refer to these pieces as my renaissance of Neo Spatialism.Or “Spatialist Nouveau”. I look forward to seeing other artists expand on the process. Why does canvas have to be flat?