Shawn Serfas, "Animal P02," 2016
Shawn Serfas, "Animal P02," 2016, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 36”
Shawn Serfas’s recent paintings are thicker than ever with gooey-looking paint, but his underlying impulse – exploring the topography and morphology of the landscape – has remained the same for years.
Serfas, who relocated from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia about four years ago to teach art at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., says the move from an arid and mountainous terrain to the wetter climate on the Niagara Peninsula has influenced his work. “There’s water everywhere,” he says. “In the lakes, and on the ground, and in the atmosphere.”
The change made him feel like he was starting over again, and he became interested in exploring painting as an act and considering “the whole notion of what makes a painting a painting.”
He continues to approach making art as an experimental process.
“My studio is more of a laboratory, in the sense of examining formal and chemical and erosion properties of paint, and trying to get things to set up in certain ways that are similar to the language that I see out in the forest, on rocks, or in the sky. I suppose the real core of it is that in the studio I’m trying to look at the forces and physics of how painting operates and the kind of documents it creates.”
Serfas, who grew up in Prince Albert, Sask., and earned a Master’s degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, studied environmental science before transferring into the art program as an undergraduate. “I suppose it was a childhood desire to understand the landscape and to study it,” he says. “I’m still engaged in it.”
Shawn Serfas is represented by the Bugera Matheson Gallery in Edmonton, where his show runs Nov. 4 to Nov. 18. His work sells for $2,000 to $10,000.