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September 12, 2011

German painter Gerhard Richter had a profound impact on my artistic practice. So when the opportunity arose to check out the screening of Corinna Belz’s documentary Gerhard Richter Painting, I couldn’t pass-up the chance. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Fest on Saturday night. This was a rare and intimate glance into Richter’s studio practice. Through the course of the film, viewers witness the layered construction of the painter’s “squeegee” abstracts. As much as the film captured the vivid complexity of Richter’s visuals, the audio design of the film was outstanding. The abrasive “growl” of the painter’s tools across the canvas still resonates for me. During quieter moments the chirping of birds can be faintly heard emanating from the studio courtyard. A very effective juxtaposition.

Overall, this doc is a little demanding for the average viewer. The pace is slow and mediative, with many shots of Richter calculating his next manoeuvre followed by artist point-of-view shots of drying paint. Several people walked out of the theatre. At one point during the film, I looked around and noticed several viewers with their eyes closed. Perhaps they were just savouring the audio I’ve mentioned.

In the end, Gerhard Richter Painting is an intimate exposé into the celebrated artist’s working environment and his signature technique. The screening was followed by a Q & A by the doc’s director. Belz was generous with anecdotes and impressions of her time with Richter. Her words and images contributed vital nuances and contours to the portrait of Gerhard Richter. Her camera preserved fugitive moments in paint; layers only Richter witnesses in the course of creating a work. Those remaining in the auditorium were appreciative. We had just seen something which no longer exists.

Corinna Belz discusses her latest film

Corinna Belz discusses her latest film


March 29, 2010

The results are in, and I must admit I am pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response that this vote elicited! A few weeks ago, I was uncertain about which drawing I would part with for the Gallery’s upcoming fundraiser called Drawing for Art (DFA). I posted four works and asked you to vote and comment on your favorite Olex drawing. It was a close race, and in many ways a hard one to predict. This is how it looked in the end:

 Spitting Image          22 %

Silent Actress            23%

Leaping Diver             25%

Abstract                     30%

Daytime Durham, Roger's Television - March 22, 2010

According to the vox populi, Abstract takes the cake. The next step is to get it framed, matted and ready for hanging for the in-gallery preview which will run from April 16 until the big night on Thursday, April 29. Starting April 1st, you can check-out the high calibre of artists’ submissions for this year’s DFA on the gallery website for the month of April.  

Your feedback was amazing!

The discourse was lively, pithy and insightful. In many ways, your comments changed the way I look at my work. These pictures are, as you might have guessed, moments from movies. Spitting Image is from a macabre Italian movie from the 60s. Although many of you thought this was a portrait of a young woman, in actuality it’s the lead actor taking a soak in the same bathtub he later drowns his brother. Silent Actress is a portrait of French movie star, Lili Damita. Conceptually, I enjoyed Leaping Diver. It’s a freeze frame of a diving woman watched by a man. The fact that we can see his bald spot indicates that the shot is taken from a high angle. I worked on the piece from a low angle, and the forced perspective creates a dynamic tension in the piece. Let’s not forget the winner; a two-for-one piece featuring abstract portraits behind a realistic, albeit blurry, portrait of the Italian actress, Monica Vitti.

On behalf of Monica, Lili, the balding guy, the diver and the spitter, I’d like to thank everyone for your generous guidance in helping me determine this year’s DFA selection. This was a fun challenge and I’m sure to be just as indecisive next year, when we’ll do it again for DFA 2011!  

 Check out Abstract along with all the submissions from this year’s artists in the on-line preview. Click here for details…