Richard Alm: What if…..
June 1 – 27, 2021
It was in 2003 that I said: “What if…I pulled the brushes out from under the stairs?”
The first few years of my new career were spent re-learning the craft of fine art painting, left over from university days. It took me some time to produce about120 paintings of various sizes, subject and palette. Eventually I was juried in as an active member of The Federation of Canadian Artists and had an opportunity to be critiqued by Robert Genn at the Granville Island FCA Gallery.
He challenged me to purchase 300 – 11″ x 14″canvases, go to my “room” (studio) and paint them. He said, “When you finish those, you will have a style people will recognize.” We kept in touch. He was right! When I finished #178 years later he wrote one of his newsletters about my work and said they were leaping off the canvas and to go larger! The 11″ x 14″ paintings in this show were from that period, and others can be seen on my website: www.richardalm.ca
Just prior to the Genn episode, with my background in a 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! What if…
I began by fabricating new structured stretcher bars in a 1″ washboard shape top and bottom only and measured the space between the curves. 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 stretch it vertically only.
The piece is the one titled “The Space Between” and joins 9 other structured pieces, which are the focal point of this show. Many of them 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 to accept science and art as two distinct phenomenon”. So, with respect, I refer to these pieces as my renaissance of Neo Spatialism, which I now call Spatialism Nouveau. I look forward to seeing other artists expand on the process. Why does canvas have to be flat?
I hope you enjoy the viewing experience as I’ve enjoyed the creative journey.