Paul Fortin, "Staircase," 2007, oil and pencil on paper, 74" x 62".
PAUL FORTIN, ( ),
ODD Gallery, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Dawson City
May 10 - June 15, 2007
By Jill Sawyer
After a year of almost ceaseless travel that took him to artistic residencies in places as far flung as Trinidad, Iceland, Norway, Toronto, and Ivvavik National Park in the northern Yukon, Inuvik-based painter Paul Fortin had a well-defined case of traveller’s fatigue. Some of the work he produced during that time, included in this eight-piece show in Dawson City, reflects that feeling of dislocation and burnout. Paint, or ink on paper, these elemental landscapes and cityscapes have a fleeting but familiar look to them — there’s a quaintness that recalls the picture-perfect viewpoints of travel postcards. But each one is missing something — Fortin has left voids in each view, a technique that gives the work a silkscreen effect, but also says something about memory and the blurriness that comes with extensive travel. Fortin has reflected his own recollections of travel, but also hopes the viewer will recognize a common experience in each work. Originally from Peterborough, Ontario, after training at schools including the Ontario College of Art and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Fortin embarked on what he calls a “nomadic lifestyle”, eventually settling on the northern edge of the Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. A disconnection between society and the environment informs much of his work, but he says about ( ), the title of this show, that while it “may represent a void or emptiness, the interpretations that the viewer brings to the paintings will be full of life and atmosphere.”