Robert Scott's Recent Paintings
Article by Gilbert A Bouchard
The Edmonton Journal April 28, 2006
Edmonton-based [artist] Robert Scott has been painting tear of late. He's happily ensconced in the new studio not far from his home and is back to painting his familiar heavily textured paintings on old-fashioned stretched canvas. Scott is not only painting prolifically these days, he's also creating work with a substantially different visual focus.
"In these more recent canvases, I'm showing more concern about the centre of images," says the 64-year-old abstract painter known for his gestural work.
He has a showing of 27 works at the Vanderleelie Gallery.
"It's not that I'm drawing from the centre, which is itself a brilliant compositional device, but it's more like I'm producing work that talks about the idea of things radiating out like a starburst creation."
Scott says he finds himself engaging all his senses in the production of this most recent work.
"I'm following the sound of the paint as it's being moved about the canvas as well as being moved by the feel of the paint and its visual effects. It's great to be able to discover all these feelings about how you make paintings and the play that goes into painting them."
Scott has been happy with the effects he's been getting with this new work, in particular the different visual feel the canvases boast, depending on where you stand looking at them and how the light is hitting them.
"For me it's all about creating work that is very comfortable and gives you something to look at on all four sides. I like the fact that the works change a lot depending on what time of day you're looking at them."
Scott will also airbrush different colours of paint on the different sides of his heavy paint ridges, creating some dramatic colour effects. One painting on display seems to shift from gold to blue as you walk from one side of the work to the other, a visual trick Scott equates to the shifting colours and tones that are visible in the sky surrounding the Prairie Sun.
"This kind of exploration goes back to when I was in university and was studying entomology. I was particularly fascinated with how bees followed shifts in UV light to find food. I've long tried to do something similar with my paintings so that they can be enjoyed...across 180 degrees."
Such subtle colour effects are par for the course for Scott, given his long dedication to creating tightly controlled images. For example, the painter is fond of playing warm and cold colours against each other, as well as playing with underpainting and "blacklighting" effects, like subtly "kicking up" streaks of black with shadows of blue in one stark, black pigment-dominated painting.
"I'm the kind of painter who works with light as well as colour," says Scott. "It's all about opening up work and letting it have a life of its own and letting it breath."