Michael Cutlip, "Bunny Land," mixed media on panel, 2010, 48" X 48".
New Works, October 13 to November 7, 2010, Jacana Gallery, Vancouver
BY: Helena Wadsley
Fall, one of Vancouver’s rainy seasons, is a good time for an exhibition of Michael Cutlip’s work. The colours of his mixed media landscapes evoke warmth — part Surreal, part home-decorating colour swatches, with found images and objects incorporated into the layered surfaces. Onwardhas a parasol-bearing elephant walking a high-wire above a convoy of buses and cars motoring across a red and white highway. In Divided, the elephant is back on solid ground, carrying the wire in its trunk, but below the pasture it strides across is a subterranean world of drifting mandalas. Cutlip uses planes of colour to indicate a simplified landscape — a band of peach or green may separate the horizon from the foreground. Some use a grid format that plays on subtle contrasts of colour and a playful selection of imagery — a zebra amidst polka dots and text. The gestural quality of his arcing lines draws attention to the language of drawing, while transforming from tightrope to fishing line to a tangle of weeds. Rowboats, elephants, horses, cars and buses are all evocative of childhood and sunny days.