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"Fragment Series IV"
Nixie Barton, "Fragment Series IV," Triptych, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 24".
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Grant Leier, "Periwinkle Candlelight," 48" x 48".
GRANT LEIER and NIXIE BARTON
West End Gallery, Edmonton
Nov 26 - Dec 10, 2005
By Gilbert A. Bouchard
Not only are Grant Leier and Nixie Barton united by 17 years of married life and two vibrant painting careers, they also share profound and life-altering passions for large-scale gardening and myriad collections of “stuff.” The couple boasts an object-strewn house and gallery on nine acres of heavily planted land on Vancouver Island. “It all feeds into each other,” says Leier. “What we do in the garden feeds into the work; I design my paintings the same way I’d design a flower bed.”
Famous for their eclectic collections of everything from Japanese papers to cartoon characters, the couple first met haunting swap meets. The “stuff” has more of an overt influence on Leier’s work, an oeuvre famous for its visual juxtapositions and flood of subject matter.
Currently Leier is continuing his Romance Series, paintings chock-a-block with flowers, Chinese urns, wine, fruit and “tons of saturated colours,” as well as a newer China Love Series featuring heavily collaged canvases built around Chinese propaganda poster images. As always, Leier makes no excuses for the pop culture leanings in his work (most often in the guise of vintage graphics), nor in his decision to eschew “angst-ridden images” for more beautiful subject matter, happy that both streams of his art practice are enjoying a sustained burst of mainstream acceptance.
After a 20-year hiatus, Barton says she’s returning to landscape painting and is surprising herself by creating semi-abstract work, an artistic modality she’s never explored before. “The biggest thing for me about these new landscapes is the freedom. The still-lifes were very tight and were all about me painting what was in my mind and what I was looking at, but the landscape is about my whole surrounding.”
Represented by: West End Gallery, Victoria and Edmonton; Canada House Gallery, Banff; Wallace Galleries, Calgary; Hollander York Gallery, Toronto.