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November 2013
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December 2013

Bobby Mathieson

Bobby mathiesonPositioning historically and culturally significant subjects within a strongly visceral and highly textured figurative expressionism, Bobby Mathieson's paintings reflect the emotional complexity shaping his relationship to these figures through a portraiture that is at once provocative, grotesque and deeply reverent.

Over the last four years, Mathieson's work has evolved from painting scenes in which haunting and ominous landscapes expressively inform their subjects, towards a form of portraiture that is increasingly locating these signifiers within the subjects themselves.

The intuitive use of brushstroke and palette knife creates a sense of controlled chaos, marking the works with the rhythm and immediacy of their production. This alla prima or wet-on-wet technique bears an element of the violence and gestural abstraction associated with action painting while retaining key facial cues to allow a certain level of recognition and iconic legibility in the obscured faces of subjects such as MC Ride in Jimmy Page's Castle and MF DOOM in Great Day.  Vampire teeth and pointed ears become playful motifs in Mathieson's work, confounding the elegance of posture and pose in works such as Thespian with monstrous and absurd qualities, forming characters that appear both amusing and terrifying at the same time.

Bobby Mathieson graduated the Vancouver Film School (degree in Classical Animation) and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in British Columbia (BFA). He has had numerous solo exhibitions with Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto, ON and has presented his work at art fairs such as Art Toronto, Art Southampton, NY and forthcoming AQUA Art Fair, Miami, FL.  This is his first solo project with Lyons Wier Gallery, New York. Bobby Mathieson lives and works in Toronto, ON.

Tom Bartel

Tom bartel Tom Bartel is a ceramic artist whose work is at once disturbing and fascinating. He says' "The figure has been a potent symbol and charged subject since antiquity, and continues to be an appropriate vehicle to ask some of life’s most challenging questions. I believe creating images of or depictions about ourselves can be attributed to a primal need to ensure we survive or to simply tell important stories about what it means to be human. As a result, I am confident that this subject will continue to hold our interest for a very long time.

My work takes cues from a “shotgun blast” of influences ranging from antiquity to popular culture and is constructed to refer to both the body and also charged, stylized, surrogates for the body such as dolls, toys, and figurines. The questions that arise from this cultural mishmash fuel my creative practice. I am interested in both the fragmentation and simplification of human form, especially how this decision encourages, if not requires, the viewer to participate with the work. Within this context, I view that which is absent as significant as that which is present. Furthermore, I use the human condition as a point of departure where themes related to gender, rites of passage, fertility and mortality are constant “threads” within my creative practice.

I see our skin as having the same story-telling potential as the ceramic surfaces I develop. Ultimately, I view these “marks” as having the capacity to be both formally beautiful and to suggest changes that have taken place over time. Surface patterns are also used to blur the line between where clothing ends and skin begins, where the concepts of mask, identity, disguise, and transformation are fundamental to my concerns. Throughout our life our appearance slowly and inevitably changes; in the process our skin records this story."