ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present A Few Stars in the Lake, the first Toronto solo exhibition by Vancouver-based painter Kyle Scheurmann. The exhibition runs from Thursday, October 10 to Saturday, November 9, 2019. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Anyone who regularly visits the Muskokas or Parry Sound will be familiar with Georgian Bay. Virtually a sixth Great Lake given its size and many islands – over 30,000 of them distributed across a watery surface nearly the size of Wales – Georgian Bay is part of Lake Huron and has seen habitation for approximately 11,000 years. It has also served as a site of inspiration for Canadian artists like the Group of Seven, who produced some of their most iconic images – including F.H. Varley's Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay (1921) – along its rugged shores.
Kyle Scheurmann shares with Varley time living and working in Ontario and British Columbia, including a recent residency on Georgian Bay, paddling around the islands. “For the first time, I saw all the tree and landscape shapes of the Group of Seven's paintings,” he says. “They're different than out west, so being there opened up new possibilities for my paintings' compositions.” Further possibilities resulted from the artist's recent move to Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, where he has been scouting out sites where E.J. Hughes painted shortly after WW II. “Hughes is a well-known landscape painter in BC whose work was admired by the Group of Seven's Lawren Harris,” Scheurmann explains. “Hughes would often paint views from his canoe, so several of my paintings' compositions in this show take that vantage point of sitting in a canoe, or from pulling the canoe onto the bank."
Scheurmann credits his appreciation for nature to family camping trips in Manitoba (his birthplace) and around Kenora, where his father is from. He settled on an art career by age 16, having seen Emily Carr’s paintings while growing up. But his inspiration does not come solely from Canada. Rather, Scheurmann produces “hybrid” landscapes with the forms, textures and colours stemming from a range of geographical and art-historical sources.
For example, last summer Scheurmann completed a residency in the Black Forest, just south of the birthplace of post-impressionist German painter Ludwig Kirchner, who Scheurmann cites as an inspiration along with Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch and, closer to home, Kim Dorland. “The energy in the woods there felt different than British Columbia as the ecology has been completely transformed by anthropological histories,” he explains. “There are remnants of human intervention everywhere in the landscape.” Having direct encounters with different ecosystems is important to the artist, who wants to capture not just visual elements, but any non-visual cues the environment may be subtly conveying. “I remove specificity of place in my paintings to create living woods of my own fabrication,” he says. “The fluidity of the paint reflects the ever-transforming state of the earth and its ecosystems, so I'm not just capturing what I see, but what I sense.”