A solo exhibition, March 30 – May 6, 2022
Vernissage/Meet the Artist: Saturday April 9, 2pm-4pm.
From March 30 to May 6, Sivarulrasa Gallery is delighted to present MICHAEL PITTMAN: THE OTHER ISLANDS, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Newfoundland-based artist Michael Pittman. The exhibition can be seen in-person during our regular Gallery hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays 11am to 5pm, and Sundays 11am-4pm.
In this new body of work, the artist explores a past where many more of the lesser islands in the coastal waters and bays of his home province were also populated. “For most of us, the somewhat brutal realities of this harsh and remote existence are nearly unfathomable,” he states. “Over time, many of these places simply ceased to be, while others were officially abandoned as part of government centralization programs.” The works stand in marked contrast to the familiar representations of tidy, colourful houses promoted by the tourism industry. Rather, the artist’s gaze is drawn to the struggles of people who inhabited these forgotten places, focusing on the roughness of daily life and the hardships of existence. The works are informed by a visual language that the artist has developed over nearly two decades of investigating the geography, history, and vernacular cultures of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Michael Jonathon Pittman was born in Newfoundland (Ktaqamkuk), the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk peoples, to parents of Indigenous and settler descent. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Memorial University, and a practice-led research Masters degree on the visual culture of Newfoundland and Labrador from the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland. Over the past two decades, his paintings have been exhibited in Canada and abroad, and he has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards for his work, which frequently references the physical environment, traditional knowledge, and hidden histories of the places to which he is connected. He resides in central Newfoundland with his wife and son.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.
Vernissage/Meet the Artist: Saturday April 9, 2pm-4pm. Artist Michael Pittman will be in attendance for this in-person reception. Registration is not required. We look forward to seeing you!
We invited Ottawa-based writer and poet Jenny Haysom, also the new owner of the above painting, “Ten Foot Oars”, to provide a personal response to this work – one of the central diptychs in the exhibition:
How can a skiff with ‘Ten Foot Oars’ make passage through ice? Perhaps it’s not ice, but ocean, empty and infinite under the night sky. Or the boat isn’t actual, but remembered––a phantasmic vessel steered by a ghost.
Indeed, ghostly lines and submerged forms bleed through the painting’s thick white ground, evoking movement (the laboured turn of those long oars) and memory (a history of endurance and isolation in outport Newfoundland).
Haunting and haunted, Michael Pittman’s art is one of glimpses and partial narratives, of moments that bob to the surface, and sink again, fleetingly apprehended. Here, an abandoned jerrycan floats in the foreground, leaking fuel. Beside it, in the righthand panel, an enigma of lilac, grey and orange is crowned with a fiery scribble––or is it a splash? Has something been burned and thrown overboard?
Actions leave traces in Pittman’s work. Lives are left behind. And memory is a lone skiff at sea.
Contact the Gallery: Call 613-256-8033 or email [email protected] for queries about the works below. For availability and pricing information, visit our Virtual Gallery under “New Arrivals: Gallery I”.