Robert Christie – SERIOUS PLAY
Reception: Saturday, October 17, 2:00pm
October 17 – November 12, 2015
Robert Christie’s varied collection of recent works continues to explore the boundaries within the expanded field of contemporary painting. Plywood, veneers, tape, cardboard, and strips of paint are affixed in various configurations to two-dimensional rectangular planes, producing both “paintings” with notably sculptural surfaces, as well as works that veer more conspicuously towards relief sculpture.
The inventive character throughout Christie's work is predicated on his uncompromising commitment and knowing eye. Variation emerges through a decidedly responsive studio practice that engages with the specific visual propositions that each picture poses. Christie allows each painting to navigate its own course without ever taking his hand off the steering wheel. Often humourous, the works tend to have a casual, improvised character that is nevertheless grounded in an encyclopedic knowledge of painting's history and the confidence that comes from experience. This "serious playfulness" produces surprising and visually compelling results that are distinctly contemporary, while also nodding respectfully to history. After all, Christie is quite happy to be a "traditional" painter. Regardless of the descriptive categories that may be applied to his practice, the painted surface remains a primary concern.
Robert Christie was born in Saskatoon and was educated at the University of Saskatchewan. He has participated in several Emma Lake Artists' Workshops and served as workshop coordinator throughout most of the 1980s. In addition to his 35-year tenure as co-owner of Art Placement, he has also made significant contributions to a number of institutions in the city. He was the first Education Officer of the newly opened Mendel Art Gallery, an art teacher in the Saskatoon Public school system in the early 1970s, a founding member of the Shoestring Gallery, which would later become AKA artist-run, former Director of the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery, and a Sessional and Term lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan from 1977-1988. In addition to these formal roles, he has also been, and continues to be, a steadfast champion of Saskatchewan artists, writing about, curating and promoting their art locally, provincially and nationally. His own work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada since 1969 and his paintings are represented in both public and private collections across the country and abroad.