George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s second exhibition of paintings by Chris Stott. The exhibition features the artist’s recent work and continues through January 5th.
Stott writes of his work, “Why retro/vintage objects, like vintage books, typewriters, telephones, fans, clocks, cameras? More than one reason. On one level, they have beautiful, sometimes intricate, sometimes simple, but always tactile designs. Presenting these regular, banal subjects in painting transfers them to iconic symbols of the not-so-distant past.
On another level, things like the typewriters, when painted along with books, paper, pencils, represent ideas and stories being shared. Clocks are the passage of time, as well as having unique faces, colors and shapes. Cameras are image-makers, and as a painter, I make images. Cameras capture instant moments, I capture cameras in slow, close observation. I've painted telephones for years, they symbolize talking and listening — communication. Electric fans, when painted together seem to become figurative and when placed in certain compositions you can create subtle narratives that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways.
We have modern versions of all these objects, obviously. But when using decades old objects, they transport the viewer away from our noisy world to the world of memory. They're more thoughtful, quieter, simpler. Nostalgic? Maybe. But there seems to be some missing virtue that can be found in painting them and linking them together. I think it's undeniable, beautiful, heavy and deep, like a colossal 85-year-old Underwood typewriter. I am drawn to painting objects from the past because they give me opportunities for thoughtfulness and hopefully the viewers too.”
After receiving his BFA with High Honors and a Distinguished Exhibition in 2003 from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, Stott worked in the university’s photography department. After being immersed in the rapidly changing and technical world of photography, he left to pursue painting, where the digital world was shut out and traditional oil techniques honored. For the next several years, he studied and practiced, building on his skills, and continues to do so with a prolific studio career. Stott’s work is almost object portraiture, applying traditional still life compositions and lighting but ventures beyond time honored subject matter. With the addition of retro, vintage and antique objects like rotary telephones, typewriters, electric fans, and alarm clocks, Stott links the old with the new and applies a subtle narrative to his work, often with a quiet sense of humor.
The banal and ordinary subjects of his work are painted in a celebratory way, turning them in to icon vestiges of the not so distant past. With simple yet bold compositions set in variations of grey, neutral and white tones. The paintings have repetition, rhythm and an emphasis on the basic geometric designs of the subjects with their finger firmly on the pulse of contemporary representational art.
Chris resides in a small but beautiful city virtually hidden in the vast plains of the Canadian prairies. He works in an in house studio with his wife and two young children.