David Owen Lucas, "Prairie Castles," oil on canvas, 2009.
DAVID OWEN LUCAS
Concinitas: A Look into Brandon, March 4 to April 17, 2010, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
In the 1950s, painter David Owen Lucas lived near the epic Regina Legislative Building. “We used to ride our bikes to ‘the Ledge’ and play Cowboys and Indians. That’s what shaped my appreciation for architecture.” Now, Lucas teaches part-time in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Manitoba, and when he’s not teaching art, he’s immersed in his studio painting large-scale urban icons. He’s concerned with how the character of a city is defined by its architecture, observing that there are beautiful aspects of the historic prairie skyline that are lost, ignored and devalued. His passion for prairie architecture has previously focused on Winnipeg, but when he was invited to depict the heritage of Brandon for the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, he jumped at the opportunity. “A lot of the heritage architecture has been lost,” he says. “It’s been torn down, so I like to include a tone of mystery, magic and a little bit of threat. Yet there is also joy and celebration in this subject. For me, it’s about the whole environment — pure prairie, and how I perceive the world and our particular horizon. We live on flat ground. We all share the same horizon.”