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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020 Venice | April 09 – May..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY 2020

    Location: London,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY – MIXING CULTURES ITSLIQUID International Art Exhibition THE..
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  • Call for Proposals: 2020 The WALL Artist

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Vancouver Heritage Foundation is now accepting proposals from independent artists and curators for..
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  • 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Appreciation of the Arts

    Location: London, ON

    Three day art and music event to recognize local artists in London, Ontario...
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  • Call to Artists - 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show

    Location: Sooke, BC

    Artists are invited to submit work for consideration to the 2020 Sooke Fine..
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  • INK by Shawn Zheng

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Shu Cheng (Shawn) Zheng features his distinctive style of making marks in Chinese..
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  • North Shore Art Crawl

    Location: North Shore, BC

    The North Shore Art Crawl is a free community arts event March 7+8,..
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  • Art exhibit at local funeral home is proof art isn’t dead!

    Location: Alexandria, ON

    • Friday, 21 Feb 6--9: Wine & cheese, entertainment by recording artist Katie..
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  • New Craft Coalition: Call to Artists

    Location: Calgary, AB

    New Craft Coalition invites applications from all mid-career and professional artists to be..
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  • TRAVEL EXHIBITION

    Location: Toronto, ON

    John Mantha will be participating in a group show at Twist Gallery in..
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  • David Tycho: Urbania

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Guest artist David Tycho will exhibit 10 paintings from his latest series. This series..
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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

    Location: Brussels,

    ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) is back on October 15-18, 2020 for its 14th..
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  • Clarkson Society of Artists 2020 Show & Sale

    Location: Mississauga, ON

    The Clarkson Society of Artists invites you to attend their annual show &..
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  • Call for Artists: Urban Matrix

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    North Van Arts is inviting artists to take part in an upcoming group..
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  • 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art is now accepting entries for the 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art..
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  • Call for Art - 11th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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  • Call for Art - 4th Annual Colors Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 4th Annual Colors online art competition. For this..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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  • Jane Selbie and Joseph Farrugia

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • Dianne Davis and the WAP Collective

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • “Grey” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline February 28, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Grey surrounds us, sometimes in surprising ways. In beach pebbles, a..
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  • on thin ice Polar Bear Art Exhibit

    Location: Toronto, ON

    On thin ice is a solo exhibit of polar bear portrait paintings by..
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  • Support the Worldwide Art Community | Participate in 6x6x2020

    Location: Rochester, ON

    Hello Artists in Canada, We want YOU to participate in 6x6x2020! Let your creative..
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  • Olivier Du Tre: New Works

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    January 7 to February 29, 2020 At HUB@302 302-1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary, AB..
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  • WAAH 124th Juried Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

    Location: Hamilton, ON

    Who:  The Women’s Art Association of Hamilton (WAAH) at the Art Gallery of..
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  • The Indian Contemporary Art Competition

    Location: New York, NY, ON

    The Indian Contemporary Art Competition (ICAC) aims to discover and promote talented artists..
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  • The Loft On King Street

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Loft On King Street is one of the most unique private event..
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  • Overzealous Fine Art Exhibition 2020 Call for Entry

    Location: Toronto (GTA), ON

    Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 1st, 2020 -- Exhibition Dates: March 30 – April 18,..
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Robert Bateman - Part 2 of 2

By Robert Amos June 24, 2004

} Robert Bateman - Part 2 of 2 By Robert Amos ArtSpring, Salt Spring Island’s centre for the performing and visual arts, is host to a preview exhibition by Robert Bateman. Bateman lives on Saltspring and is presenting 40 of his original works there, from June 4 to 20, 2004. For information try www.artspring.ca or call (250) 537-2102 1-866-537-2102 (toll-free) 100 Jackson Ave., Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 2V8 Bateman It had been an hour since I arrived, and Alex interrupted to confirm some events on Bateman’s calendar. Thirty visitors were due to arrive from a tiny ocean liner which would soon drop anchor in Fulford Harbour. Then 20 docents from the National Wildlife Museum were coming to see him at work; high school kids were scheduled to tour the show at Artspring; his son John’s birthday would be celebrated; and film-makers from the Joslyn Museum in Omaha would be following him around throughout the day. He’s going to Toronto the day after... Hanging his calendar back on the wall, Bateman immediately returned to his easel. “When I used to be a Group of Seven artist...”, he began again... “A Group of Seven groupie!”, Alex interjected from across the studio, with her laugh. “Well,” Bateman continues, “I was always painting in the field, and I thought that I would always be that. But I found I was running into what all artists fear - the fear of repeating myself. I bet the Group of Seven felt that too. You know - the top third has to be sky... and those rythmic hills of A. Y. Jackson.” But, at the age of 32, Bateman had a breakthrough. “Along came Andrew Wyeth, and he showed me it was ‘point of view’. He came in close to a tin bucket on a bench in the cooling shed; or he pulled back to look down on a girl’s back on a hillside. His vantage point was so varied, yet his style stayed the same.” Bateman never allowed himself to play fast and loose with his subject matter. “And as a naturalist,” he confirmed, “you have to be concerned with particularity. Is it a douglas fir? Or is it a grand fir? You’ll never be burdened by tedium. Nature is more complicated than we know, and more complicated than we can know,” he said, quoting one of his favourite nature writers. With a bit of devilishness in his eyes, he stepped back to reveal his next canvas. “A Santa Fe cloud!”, he exclaimed. Sure enough, central in a field of graduated blues, was a perfectly fluffy cumulus. “ It is truly a Santa Fe cloud - I checked in Peterson’s Field Guide to Clouds,” he continued... and then paused to see if I got the joke. “That is a very special cloud,” this utterly down-to-earth artist went on. Bateman saw it one day in the heart of Georgia O’Keeffe territory. “It spoke to me,” he added without a trace of mysticism. On the margin of this single, centred cloud was inscribed the tiny silhouette of a golden eagle - a Bateman touch in an unusual composition. Where do such ideas come from? “My art is based on intuition, a gut feeling,” the artist explained. “It’s not rational. What is a good idea?” he wondered. No one can be sure - but he recognizes one when he sees it. Next came a large canvas with two ravens flying across. Bateman strode off to find a book about the making of American Robert Motherwell’s giant Reconciliation Elegy, an abstract canvas that looks like an “action painting” but was meticulously produced. Bateman has frequently acknowledged the influence of Abstract Expressionists on his compostions. The shape of these two ravens is based on Motherwell’s design. With every new canvas comes a new challenge. Serenghetti Dusk is the title of one of the most dramatic paintings in the group. A group of white storks stand in the shade, their white plumage represented by muted tones of blue-grey. They stand before a rich, charcoal grey background at the edge of a marshland which ripples toward the viewer. Each wavelet catches a late ray of sunset, and this he has rendered with gold leaf. “A nod to the Japanese screens,” he explained, tilting his painting back and forth to catch the light. The pictures, larger and larger, were now as big as he could safely move into position. A moose loomed out from a thick haze. In fact, it’s more difficult to paint these hazy backgrounds than it is to render the precise detail of the animal subjects. Bateman, in his helpful and homey way, showed me how he pre-mixes many subtle tints in plastic film cans, holding three of them together with an elastic band - “that’s a Martha Stewart tip”, he allowed with a chuckle. His paintings tend to start out quickly, and progress more slowly as they go along. “If you weighed the paint I use per day you’d find the amount steadily declining,” he suggested. Finally, we confronted his image of the giant California condor. It is, according to him “the largest flying bird in the world, with the ugliest face”. That face, though he agreed it would have been a pleasure to paint, is turned away from the viewer. The bird is seen from close range, as if we were flying with the artist above, behind and to its right. Painted in a rather summary style, the wing feathers seem to tremble in the updrafts on which it flies. The powerful bone structure of these wings bespeaks an awesome force. The painting has effectively captured the dynamic space in which this bird exists, soaring high above the Grand Canyon. I tried to bring the interview to a conclusion, but the artist was unstoppable. A new heap of drawings on paper had built up beside me, and Bateman was approaching, bearing a stack of illustrations for a book on which he is collaborating with David Suzuki. Bateman’s passions drive him to work tirelessly. These passions include a love of painting, a desire to experience the infinite complexity of the natural world, and the compulsion to use his notoriety to influence us all to embrace our mother earth. “Diversity is my whole philosophy of life,” he concludes. “In my writings, in my letters to politicians, that’s what I worship most about this planet - the diversity of life.” It is an ideal worth this considerable expenditure of energy. Moments later I was on the ferry boat heading back to Victoria. All around me our coastland seemed greyed, almost monochrome. Canada geese made their way by, wingtips beating not far above the waters of the Gulf. Everything around me seemed touched with those “tiny adjustments of tone” to which a morning with Robert Bateman had sensitised me. Bateman on prints, from one of his essays at www.batemanideas.com/art.html “There is a small coterie of original printmakers who are very angry and feel that if only reproduction prints would vanish, their sales would soar. I would love their sales to soar and, in fact, I make original prints myself and do everything I can to cultivate public taste in that direction. Unfortunately, I doubt that there would be the slightest difference in their sales. Their lamentations have nothing to do with artistic merit and everything to do with market. I have very little interest in the market. I don't paint for prints and I have never painted for the market, but only to please myself. There are hundreds of wildlife artists out there who do paint for the market but in my view that is the sure road to becoming a non-entity. Luckily, other people sell my stuff. I couldn't sell apples as a boy scout.” Robert Amos speaks about his photographs When the opportunity to interview Robert Bateman came up I took it, eager to add a picture of his studio to my series of photo-collages. In twenty years of writing this column I have had privileged access to the art history of our region. Beyond what I can say in my usual 800 words, I have made it a project to photograph artists’ studios. Artists typically work in close and cluttered quarters, and my form of photography lets me tell the whole story. Using a very ordinary camera I just click away, taking in every portion of the image before me. I don’t use a flash or a tripod. Typically a roll of film results in one or two large collaged “pictures”. When the photographs come back from the lab I paste them down on cardboard, matching the edges. And then I paint around the margins a bit, to bind the images together. I have created portraits of about 40 artists’ studios. Though the artist sometimes appears in the picture, my goal is to show the artist’s way of working. Looking back at the results, I think each of these pictures is worth a thousand words. In my portrait of Bateman’s studio you can see his easel under the skylight, his paint table and his chair on wheels. The old wooden office chair has a palette built onto the arm on the right side, and beyond it a smaller tray for holding the many slides he uses for reference. On his left side you can see a tiny slide projector on a “goose neck” stand, ready to refer to as he paints. www.robertbateman.ca www.batemanideas.com www.artspring.ca www.robertbateman.ca/bfb/bfb.html ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com