View from the East

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Christopher Harding
Christopher Harding

View from the East

This exhibition features a series of landscapes and seascapes inspired by the natural formations found across New Brunswick in the Bay of Fundy, including Grand Manan Island and the Hopewell Rocks. The subject matter includes the rough texture of rock and river and distinctive pine trees shaped by forces of wind. I have used a unique Eastern inspired method which results in a painting with a muted pastel quality and colour. While these paintings are reminiscent of the traditional woodblock prints of Japan, each is handcrafted from an original illustration. This fusion of Eastern technique with local themes is the motivation of this exhibition; View from the East

I have long had an interest in East Asian art and my work is a reflection of this passion. I continue to be captivated by the mystery and elegance of this unique style. Although the work of renowned 19th-century Japanese landscape artists Hiroshige and Hokusai continue to be my inspiration, I am striving to adapt the look and feel of this painting style by applying the technique to Canadian landscapes. This has led me on a journey of personal expression to combine my love of nature with the development and refinement of a painting technique that captures the subtle nuances found in traditional Japanese woodblock prints. My first exposure to this method was at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design while studying surface design. Immediately I was struck by the unique properties that this method produced in a painting.

The Faux Woodblock technique is one of risk and reward where the original painting is completely covered in a layer of India ink and then sprayed with water. The outcome and quality of the painting are entirely dependant on the timing of the ink removal. Even after doing over a hundred of these paintings, I still feel uncertainty in what the final result will reveal. The final product is an image rich in colour and texture. This alteration in the appearance of a painting is a style that I have been developing over the last few years. My initial efforts were aimed at producing a series of Kimono paintings and other Japanese styled landscape images. I am excited to build on my past experience to undertake this new exhibition where I can apply this Eastern painting style to Atlantic themes.

Christopher Harding, 2019

Artists in this Exhibit