Nick Bantock, artist and author of the Griffin & Sabine trilogy, has chosen the Penticton Art Gallery for his first ever Canadian retrospective exhibition.
The show, which opens tonight and runs through Nov. 6, features a selection of works created for his best selling books, stamp designs and his own art practice. Bantock will be in attendance at both the opening reception tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. as well as holding an artist talk on Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. Both events are open and free for the public to attend.
Born, in England, Bantock moved to Vancouver in 1988, where he began work on the Griffin & Sabine trilogy, combining images, postcards and letters into a narrative. The series thrust him into international prominence and Bantock has since continued to expand and develop a genre of narrative books that integrate both text and image.
Today Bantock works in a wide variety of media often combining charcoal with watercolors, acrylics and collage to create the incredibly rich and layered pieces which make up his body of work.
For Bantock, collage was the natural extension of these experiments. In one of his large works he might combine anywhere from 10 to 15 different media in order to achieve the desired affect and lushness of surface and depth of luminosity for which his work is known. His richly layered paintings are evocative of the work of Paul Cézanne and Leonardo Da Vinci, blending science with keen observations of the world around him.
Bantock also cites as an influence the surrealists Joseph Cornell and Marcel DuChamp and, picking up their lead, he has taken on the role of cultural anthropologist, collecting, classifying, displaying and repurposing the ephemera of civilizations and communities from across the globe.
As he travels he is constantly seeking out and collecting materials such as postcards, postage stamps, letters, photographs, old magazines, books, tickets and anything else which catches his eye and is evocative and could be repurposed and recontextualized into one of his paintings, sculptures or books.
This exhibition features a large number of recent and never before seen paintings and drawings along with a large number of original works of art from his Griffin & Sabine trilogy.
Bantock encourages viewers to allow themselves to be catapulted into a world without a written narrative and encourages the viewing public to start using their intuitive visual brain. With all these artistic elements in place, the cohesive force of Bantock’s world-view — stemming from a lifelong passion for the poetry of Yeats — is a quest for unity.
“Now you’re talking about the essence of everything I try to do,” Bantock said, referring to the transformative power of art. “I can’t explain it better than in my books.”
Bantock has authored 25 books with his Griffin & Sabine trilogy creating a new literary genre by combining fine art, fiction and 3-dimensional interactive books.