Christopher von Donkelaar: A Local Colour Project
A Local Colour Project
by Christopher van Donkelaar
October 7 – November 14
The Minarovich Gallery Presents
We invite you to attend the Opening Night Reception: Thursday, October 7, 7:30pm
By developing a set of pigments taken from two rocks, one from Cobalt, Ontario and another from Madoc, Ontario, Christopher Van Donkelaar has created a workable artists’ palette and painted an icon of Saint Barbara – the patroness of miners.
This particular exhibition not only explores the artists burgeoning idea of local colour, but by including both the finished work and the elements that went into the journey to make the finished work, the artist has created a calm, spiritual experience that is a rich source for contemplation about
the crossroad where people and their environment intersect to form a community.
Trained as an iconographer by Orthodox monks, van Donkelaar is a self described, “sacred artist” who has taken the bedrock of the iconographic art form as the foundation for his own unflinching and inexhaustible curiosity, bringing it to bear on the whole of creation. www.vandonkelaar.ca
In places where people live closely with their natural surroundings they oftentimes develop a mythology of the landscape, in its different key elements, as sacred. Seeing the local environment as spirit-bearing is a significant theologically statement. Within such art traditions, the landscape’s very earth is remembered as the foundational connection to a place. This reliance on the local earth, as its colour, for creating a painting not only effects a work’s hue and specific techniques, but ultimately affects the very perception of the divine.
Every place that people live has a local identity, and part of this identity is local colour. This colour is significant within a region and can be best understood as a permeating indigenous material. The specific hue of a local colour can become synonymous with an historic, cultural or regional identity. However, in our modern epoch, we are less aware of these connections due to industrial interests and the consumeristic tendency to provide a repeatable brand which has made it all but impossible for our daily objects and materials to still connect us with such a local narrative.
To understand a place as colour, as is the case in local colour, we need to rethink our notions of impurities, convenience, and brand. While there is a good aesthetic reason to do so, the impact of local colour goes beyond this. Ultimately, it effects the very way in which live within our communities.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ignoring the perceived boundaries of the many, “ists” – artist, geologist, botanist, chemist … to name a few – that our current culture prescribes, Christopher van Donkelaar aims to reclaim wholeness within his art. In doing so, van Donkelaar presents everything he interacts with, whether it be a bit of bone or a handful of dirt, in a new way that challenges his audience to work out a new perception of what they have always seen. Cutting through our economic framework, this same process demonstrates that what is freely available can also be unique and valuable. Refreshingly, the results are not the common and predictable condemnation of humanity’s actions (so prescriptive today). Instead, van Donkelaar’s work is a celebration of the good a person can do within the world.
Initially trained as an iconographer by Orthodox monks, van Donkelaar is a self described, “sacred artist” who has taken the bedrock of the iconographic art form as the foundation for his own unflinching and inexhaustible curiosity, bringing it to bear on the whole of creation.
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