In face of the vast and fascinating output of paintings emanating from painter, Alex Colville (1920-2013), no one could miss its premium upon embracing a “mysterious,” unfamiliar side of familiar life. His strategy, in raising this matter, would seem to comprise having the readily recognizable images fastidiously dig themselves into moments of the ordinary and then letting it dawn upon the viewer that something extraordinary is afoot.
Many of these paintings are glowingly attractive, subliminally conveying to the viewer that, despite challenges befalling all of us, the energy on view carries a most gratifying gift to us. This provocative and exciting intuitive insinuation is well worth touching upon, by way of an avenue to further considerations.
Shown here to get things underway, is work in a farm village implying a whole universe of some other kind of work!
Here we have wholesome country life and the healthy stimulations of vigorous motion. We also have an appointment with an equivocal destination in the form of the abysmal frisson in to which the racers consign themselves.
Bovine, yes. But far from just bovine.
A bit of a departure from the usual scene. Hectic city life—non-Canadian at that—flashing over a fine line between the banal and the blazingly new. It is Colville’s measure of commitment to that innovative territory that is in question here.
Having been, perhaps surprisingly in view of the sanguine tenor of his work, an avid fan of the films of the (certainly witty and vigorous)Coen Brothers, Colville has included in his dashing (can we call it restless?) effort, this startling (not wholesome) nod to the boys first film, Blood Simple.
You’d think this painting would be saying good night to easy-going speed bumps. But Colville’s seems to be a project of overriding resignation in face of a surround where very few look beyond the box of mundane gratifications.