In “Constructing Colour,” Robert Christie presents his latest abstract paintings with an engaging and unexpected balance of nuanced colour, surface, and form. Christie creates striking assemblages by stacking, layering, arranging, and re-arranging painted canvas and plywood. Drawing on the history and traditions of abstraction, his works are simultaneously playful and sophisticated explorations of colour, illusionistic depth, and bas-relief.
"The process of writing about what I'm doing in art is synonymous with how I paint. Its a process of getting started, changing my mind, becoming frustrated, and starting over and over again until, hopefully, something clicks. And even then there are no guarantees that what I have to say will have any substance. That's how I paint.
At the outset of painting I will have some sort of image in mind; often something related to what I've just been working on or something from my past work that I think I can re-kindle. Of course, at this stage I always think that my ideas are terrific but unfortunately the initial visual results seldom live up to the brilliance of the concept. So that's when the real work begins. I alter, add, subtract, re-work and over-paint to the extent that the original concept is essentially non-existent. New avenues are pursued and, likewise, altered over time until something clicks with the imagery that surprises and engages me. Admittedly, it doesn't always get to that end and I will frequently put the work aside and start fresh with a different piece.
I work out of the history and traditions of painting. This doesn't mean that I aspire to paint like the past but rather that I continue to learn from it. With time, the outward appearance of art will naturally change but the essence of what stimulates the viewer is a constant. As humans we share a “natural” affinity for a sense of organization and harmony in what we experience, even in what might initially appear to be discordant. At the same time, visual information that is too well known or overly familiar to us becomes cliche. Consequently, while we continually seek order in our lives – its imperative that it comes with a twist or an element of surprise for us to be truly engaged. I hope that my work provides some of this for the viewer."
- Robert Christie, August 2016.
Robert Christie was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1946. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1967, an Honours Degree in Art from the University of Saskatchewan in 1968 and a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1970. He participated in several of the Emma Lake Artists' Workshops at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan beginning in 1969, and he was the coordinator of a number of the workshops in the 1980s. Christie was a participant in Triangle Artists' Workshop, Pine Plains New York; a guest artist at the Thapong International Artists' Workshop, Kanye, Botswana in 1992 and a participant at the Mashomak Artists' Workshop, Pine Plains, New York in 1993. The artist's work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada since 1969 and his work is represented in both public and private collections throughout Canada.