It’s always great to work with artists. Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph a number of painters, including: Rob Saley, Scott Johnston and Paria Shahverdi.
Shoots and bad weather have been a bit of a theme these days, but you always end up working around it and heading up to Rob’s at the end of March, was no exception. I’ve posted some of the images here, as well as the artists’ bio’s and links to their websites.
Rob Saley / AOCAD, RCGS Fellow
Rob was born in 1970 in Toronto, Ontario.
In 1992 Rob graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto.
A diverse and prolific artist, Rob paints in a variety of mediums and styles. Moving with ease between oil painted landscapes to subjects such as abandoned houses and vehicles done in oil
or acrylic paints, or on to a series featuring Inuit “country” food in mixed media. Additionally, the Yardbird series, which have realistic portrayals of the birds in his backyard with abstracted backgrounds in acrylic paint, to crazy wild cartoon canvases with bright, bold acrylic colours and an emphasis on black line often featuring “Bucketfish”, a cartoon character created at art college.
A founding member of the acclaimed Canadian artist collective Drawnonward, Rob Saley has drawn his inspiration from the far reaches of Canada and abroad for the last two decades.
When Rob is not working somewhere onsite, he paints out of his historic log home and studio, located in the Pretty River Valley along Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment.
For the past year, Toronto artist Scott Johnston has been concentrating his focus on his new body of work. His stated interest was to create a complex and rigorous visual language, separate and distinct from others. As the work progressed, he learned that there was not much information to be gained from outside of the work; that the work itself was the best source of how to proceed, each painting informing the next.
The paintings are mainly made up of the interplay of various coloured circles overlapping one another on an iridescent patchwork of coloured squares. The geometrically opposed shapes work together to create separate but, at the same time, integrated fluid visual movement.
The circles continually merge and divide from one other, never actually forming a complete circle, holding the viewer’s attention in a perpetual weave with no beginning and no end. Layering the fragmented circles with a combination of warm and cool colours further conveys a sense of depth. Foreground and background continually trade roles, sustaining and driving this undulating rhythmic pulse.
The mind’s eye tends to complete the incomplete, reflecting a desire to fill in the blanks. Johnston’s latest paintings—with their dual presence of echoing squares and broken circles that seem to extrapolate past the edges of these large-scale works—keep that desire active and challenge our ability to see the work in its entirety.
We often have similar experiences within our daily existence, words left unsaid, something left behind or a piece missing from the puzzle—just that one thing, whatever it may be, that would make everything complete. And, of course, for better or worse, we never really find it. Scott Johnston seems to understand and reflect this concept completely.
Margaret Baxter – December 2011
Paria Shahverdi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, during the Islamic Revolution. During the Iran/Iraq war, she worked as an operator at a local newspaper, but stopped working to raise her young children. During this time, inspired by the memory of her father, a poet and playwright, Paria explored writing and drawing. Ultimately, she graduated from the Fine Arts Program at the Azad University of Tehran.
After immigrating to Canada in 2004, Paria continued her education through the Animation program at Seneca College, and at the Toronto School of Art. A well respected arts organizer, Paria is Vice President of the Ontario Society of Artists, and an elected Member of the Canadian Society of Artists, the McMichael Art Collection, and the Iranian Society of Artists.
Bios reproduced with permission from the Artists.