Whitehot Magazine

Danger in Paradise @ Or Gallery


Danger in Paradise Or Gallery
Ahbyah Baker, Jason Froese, Dana Hawkes, Eric Roddy, Darius Stein, Dylan Wolney
January 31 - March 7, 2009
Opening Friday, January 30, 2009 8PM
Curated by Dana Claxton
When hearing the words “Danger in Paradise” immediately a variety of images came to mind. The dominant image is of idyllic landscape confronted by chaos. The curator Dana Claxton has named the show “Danger in Paradise” bringing together six artists practicing representational painting, all with very different styles. All are very different thematically shying away from a literal interpretation, the pieces all have an underlying tension that is suggestive of the dichotomy that the terms danger in paradise suggests. 
While all the works fall firmly under the realm of “representational art” it is the interpretation and disruption of the representations that call into question the notion of representation and form and give these works meaning. From the vibrant and ambiguous figures of Dana Hawkes to the interpretations of historical photographs by Jason Froese these painters all use contrasting elements to create a narrative and allegory.
I had the pleasure to be able to ask curator Dana Claxton a few questions:
Helen Eady: First off could you tell me a little about how "Danger in Paradise" came to be?
Dana Claxton: I was an adjunct professor at Emily Carr and taught First Nations art history and Dana Hawkes was in one of my classes and kept in touch over the last few years and set me an invitation to a show he was having a Hasty Hawk on E. Hastings. I went to the opening and was completely engaged with his new paintings. In many was they were so west coast. Water, landscape, crazy lifestyle of consumerism and the natural world. So, I wanted to do a studio visit with him and did, at which time he told me he when he went to Emily (Carr) he and a group of artist all painted late into the night and some people called them The Representationalists. So, I said, I would like to meet them and then did a studio visit with the rest and decided there was something there for a group show.
HE: Also could you explain the title choice Danger in Paradise for us?
DC: Well... partially because of some of the work that Dana Hawkes had in this Hasty Hawk show which was about trouble in paradise, so I took it one step further in a danger zone. Also, because of the physical site of Vancouver. We live in Paradise, but we are surrounded by such danger...the wind, the snow, the port of Vancouver, and certainly with recent shootings etc.
HE: Also I noticed in your own work you use a lot of video and photography. How did your own artistic practice play into curating this show?
DC: Slightly really, since I am not a painter, but certainly, the idea of representation is what my work is all about and so I contacted (connected) to this works that way. Also, I love painting ..it's so primitive!!
HE: What do you think this resurgence of representational painting is indicative of? Perhaps that we want to keep it real!!


Helen Eady

Helen Eady is a writer in Vancouver.

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