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Nicholas Voeikoff-Erens
Malleable paintings to be explored
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 3 mai 2012

Photo: Ingrid Wissink

Painter Nicholas Voeikoff-Erens in his studio.

Painter Nicholas Voeikoff-Erens invites the public to follow their impulses at his exposition at the Segal Centre’s ArtLounge. His twistable, reversible paintings are meant to be fully explored in order to discover the surprises hidden therein. The painter unveiled recent works at an exposition that runs until May 24.

The Côte-des-Neiges artist wants viewers to open up a “whole new horizon” by turning his paintings around to discover the other side.

“What I’m trying to isolate is the space where self-expression is an entitlement of the person beholding whatever it is… in other words, they’re free to be who they are, who they wish to be, think what they wish to think.”

He uses what he finds in the pages of free weekly newspapers and appropriates them to create glossy, double-sided paintings on flexible canvasses. With their ever-changing headlines, photos and advertisements, weekly urban papers make up the shifting material of his work: “Whatever I see on the page suggests how I paint and what I paint.”

Voeikoff-Erens himself “discovers” the other side of the painting when he peels off the acrylic from the intact newsprint. “I’m always curious and eager to see it surprise me,” he says, pointing to an artwork in his colourful Mile End studio. The shapes and strips of the paintings approach sculpture, yet instead of stiff, bounded objects one finds the glossy, malleable paper canvasses that the artist once draped around his neck for press photos.

The artist recontextualizes the visual materials in an “affirmation of a space that is somehow unshackled from the intentions behind everything that is thrust at us,” referring to a world that is overflowing with sensory information. He is admittedly obsessed with reappropriating his visual field from mass media’s constant domination of our visual environment, working to allow the newsprint to “step down from the public voice that’s behind it.”

Voeikoff-Erens speaks often of personal space, of how we are often encouraged to be passive, unsatisfied and continually in search of something more. “You have to reassert your own space, practically. That’s kind of the subtext of what I’m doing...” Each collage-like canvas contains bursts of the painter’s individuality, such as painted circles or surreal backgrounds hand-painted around images from the mass media.

“There is a hunger out there… which is satiated by an endless stream of stuff thrown out there to be consumed. Music, art, film - it’s all out there to feed the hungry mob. Works of art are being consumed like cans of soup,” he laughs.

Viewers can view Nicholas Voeikoff-Erens’ work until Thurs. May 24 at the Segal Centre’s ArtLounge, 5170 Côte Sainte-Catherine.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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