Distance. Motion. Moment.
by Scott Bertram
The Main Gallery, January 10 – February 22, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, January 10, from 7 pm – 10 pm
Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, 3rd floor, 10215 – 112 St, Edmonton
For me, beauty exists in what is not easily graspable. I am attracted to experiences where my ability to preconceive, classify, name or judge is momentarily suspended. During these situations I focus my attention in a non-analytical way, remaining curious of and accepting of what I do not yet know, and attempt to experience what I am seeing and feeling as it is, and not as it is named.
Paint, with it’s ability to conceal, suggest, reveal form, and create or problematize space, offers an ideal vehicle to explore this type of experience further. I strive to create paintings with a sense of openness and unfamiliarity by searching for form that I can just sense, as if on my periphery, and negotiating this with what is presented before me on the canvas.
I typically begin my paintings by focusing on materials and process and by inviting elements that lack premeditation or planning into the decision making. Initial colour choices are often simply what I have left over from previous paintings, and shapes often come from quick cuttings of pieces of paper that are then projected onto the canvas.
As I progress I will add disruptive elements to continually change the context that I understand the painting to be in. I do this by both including spaces that contradict previous layers, and also by echoing the initial shapes across the canvas in different ways. Therefore I treat the paintings as if they are constantly in a state of trying to escape themselves and find themselves at the same time. Progressing in this way maintains a state of uncertainty for me as I include one layer overtop of another, creating tensions between disparate elements while also revealing their interconnectedness.
Through the use of improvisation, intuitive structures, and openness to possibilities, I am able to proceed in a painting without fixing my view or knowing what the painting will eventually be. The kind of painting I’m aiming for is one where I’m not able to totally grasp it, and yet it doesn’t push me away, and so I want to just stay with it and remain in the ambiguity, in not knowing.
Scott Bertram is an abstract painter whose practice centres around ideas of improvisation, finding meaning within unintended stimuli, and playing with the dynamics of perception. He has a BFA from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and an MFA from NSCAD University. He was a semi-finalist in the 12th RBC Canadian Painting Competition and has received many other awards including funding from the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Two Rivers Art Gallery in Prince George, BC; Forest City Gallery in London, ON; and Galerie BAC in Montreal, QC; as well as in group exhibitions at The Power Plant in Toronto, ON; Dalhousie Art Gallery in Halifax, NS; and the Art Gallery of Calgary, among other exhibitions in the USA, Australia, Germany, Mexico, and the UK. Scott Bertram currently lives and works in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
The artist acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in the creation of this exhibition.