Geoff Phillips: Plantscapes of the Prairies
March 1 to April 24
*Touring exhibition from the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, presented in partnership with Yorkton Arts Council.
I have been working the past seven years as the Artist in Residence at Cypress Hills Centre Block capturing scenes of the park and surrounding area. Through capturing these vistas and landscapes I became interested in conservation, the park’s role in South Western Saskatchewan, and what they were preserving. I began focusing in on the land as opposed to the landscape and found a world of species that do not grow in the sectioned off farmers’ fields. I use my bold brushwork to highlight seemingly under-whelming land and give colour to it in new ways for the public to experience.
My process includes driving to locations in South Western Saskatchewan, mountain biking with rolled canvas in my knapsack, finding a section of land, unrolling the primed canvas on the ground, paint-sketching the scene/plants, and rolling it back up to stretch and paint in oils later in my studio. I also take many close-up photographs of the various elements and plants found within the scene. Some photos are chosen for reference and printing. These photos along with the paint sketch and my memory/experience of the land inform the painting process.
This series was made to challenge people to look closer at their environment, to see it in new ways, to challenge myself to learn about the different species found in the South Western Saskatchewan landscape, and to illustrate a new world of plant life underfoot.