"May Afternoon Saltspring"
Robert Florian, "May Afternoon Saltspring," 2003, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 42".
By Shannon Heth
A trip to Giverny, France, was life-altering for Robert Florian. It was during his visit to Claude Monet's garden that Florian decided to become a landscape painter. He returned to Vancouver and spent two years at Langara College studying painting form and technique, then forged out on his own to recreate the wonder of British Columbia's diverse landscape. Florian's major influences besides Monet are the famous Group of Seven painters. "They had such an appreciation of the world around them," says Florian, "and landscape art should never die. There are so many ways to interpret our land."
Artworks Gallery in Vancouver has been representing Robert Florian since 1998; administrator Dorota Szelagowicz agrees that landscape painting still has a major following: Florian's May exhibition completely sold out. "Florian represents the realist landscape of B.C.: unspoiled, beautiful, and always admired," she says, adding that Florian's work has become a symbol of the province. A second exhibition of Florian's works runs November 5 to 30, 2003 at Artworks, opening November 6 with the artist in attendance. The artist's work can also be found at Wallace Galleries in Calgary.