Graham Fowler

Rappel, 2005
oil on canvas, 48" × 60"
Forty Foot Point (In the Liquid World)
Forty Foot Point (In the Liquid World), 2003
oil on canvas, 46" × 68"
Fish Fantastic
Fish Fantastic, 2007-9
oil on canvas, 48" × 60"
Up the Stream #2
Up the Stream #2, 2011
oil on canvas, 30" × 40"
Drop Offsold
Drop Off, 2016
oil on canvas, 32" × 48"
Water and Organic Life in Motion
Water and Organic Life in Motion, 2014
oil on canvas, 36" × 48"
Over, Under, Sideways, 2016
oil on canvas, 46" ×70"
Water Slide
Water Slide, 2015
oil on canvas, 32" × 48"
Splash, 2016
ed. 1/5
photo print of drawing, 14" × 21"
Tails, 2016
ed. 1/5
photo print of drawing, 16" × 21"
French Angel in South Bay #8
French Angel in South Bay #8
hand-coloured lithograph, 22" × 30"
French Angel in South Bay #9
French Angel in South Bay #9
hand-coloured lithograph, 22" × 30"


Graham Fowler – Artist Biography

Graham Fowler's realistic paintings are representations of the natural world derived from his experience, direct observations and photographic research. His paintings thematically capture nature through a precise analysis of light and colour. Fowler's work addresses three fundamental yet diverse overlapping themes: the sensation of nature as subject matter in its own right; the social construction of nature; and the aquatic world.

[I] will continue to paint the surface of the water and what we see through the water's surface for its formal, aesthetic, abstract relationships and for its eineffable "symbolist tone". In the water paintings, I will follow my interest in the sensation of nature through optical means to analyze the succession of moments perceived through the senses, that stream of sensation that becomes a stream of consciousness. in order for me to paint nature, I have to witness it myself, to experience and be surrounded by it.

My brushwork will be composed of lean, luminous, broken calligraphic marks that from a distance coalesce into a readable image but from up-close appear abstract. The water paintings will share in common with modernist colour-field painting a non-hierarchal spatial organization while working with a pictorial vocabulary.

My [water] paintings are not derived from memory alone and require a photographic record. The paintings are therefore not copies of the photograph but an interplay between free expression and factual observation. I am a participant observer in nature but also an independent creator. These [coral reef] paintings are and will be a personal and artistic record of this vanishing world, and I am driven to represent this world in visual terms.

— Graham Fowler

Graham Fowler has been exhibiting widely in solo and group shows since 1978. He received his Masters of Fine Arts from Concordia University in 1980 and has been an Associate Professor of Art & Art History at the University of Saskatchewan since 1989. Major solo exhibitions include The Water Paintings, curated by George Moppett for the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatchewan in 2003 and Recent Works, curated by Paul Duval for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 1985. Graham Fowler's works can be found in the collections of The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Texaco Canada, Calgary, Hudson Bay Corporation Collection, Toronto, The Nova Scotia Art Bank, University of Saskatchewan, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, and Kamloops Art Gallery, British Columbia.

The Liquid World Paintings - A Brief Explanation

In 2002 I traveled to Roatan, Honduras, the location of a marine reserve park. There, using scuba diving as a tool, something I had been preparing for during the previous two years, I photographed for the first time the liquid world. The experience of diving was a revelation to me. “To go underwater is simply not a natural activity. We enter a hostel element where the most basic fuel, air, is unattainable. To survive, we must take it with us”1. This experience of immersion in a non-terrestrial environment with its inherent risks, heightened focus and the dramatic alteration of colour, space and atmosphere; the feeling of weightlessness and the unfamiliar life forms of the aquatic world have had a profound impact on the subject matter and content of my painting.

Since this experience, I have been researching, developing, and producing a series of paintings of coral reefs and the liquid world based on my photographs and experiences of scuba diving. These photographic records have surprised me in their unexpectedly sensuous richness, their visual complexity and their depth of meaning. Photography is my research tool, functioning as a sketchbook that provides me with a verifiable image of moments of nature that are fleeting. It is a reminder of other experiences rooted in memory and the body. The photographs taken, while being representations of the dive site, function not only as a visual record but are reminders of all the information, such as temperature, sensation, witnessing and moving physically through space, and the physicality of the subject matter. It is the dive itself that inspires the work. The paintings therefore are not copies of the photograph. Artistic research is done during the event through personal experience and documentation. My painting practice is based as much on the sensory, ephemeral and experiential information derived from the experience itself as it is on the mediated content of the photograph.

I have always been interested in the contemporary and historical language of painting and the dialogue in art that exists between past and present, theory and practice. The liquid world paintings that I have commenced make these connections in multiple ways and are open to many possible readings. What struck me first about the dive experience and the photographs I had taken was the uncanny resemblance to the pictorial conventions of Baroque painting. The chiaroscuro lighting, atmospheric depth and weightless floating of the divers and fish recollect the space of the Baroque in which angel and divers, fish and cherubs could easily be interchanged as the figural elements. The possibility these photographic records link the profoundly technological, contemporary experience of scuba diving with the historical stylistic conventions of Baroque painting creates an entanglement of the past and the present. “Art does not exist outside history. It exists as a perception of the past, which in turn becomes anticipation of the future.”2 This contiguity between past and present enables me to break from the endless cycle of searching for new stylistic tropes and provides me with the visual vocabulary to express new meanings with new subject matter grounded in the traditions and history of painting.

The ocean is a threatened eco system. The coral reefs are dying. By painting the liquid world I am painting part of the world that very few people get to see and drawing attention to a complex eco system and, by extension, to its precarious state. These paintings are a personal and artistic record of this vanishing world, and I am driven to represent this world in visual terms.

Graham Fowler

1 Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World, by Tim Ecott

Gallery Gevik Exhibitions

Graham Fowler
Water and the Impermanence of Surface
May 24th to June 24th, 2016

(image: Cascade in Blue and Gold)

Note: sold indicates the piece has been sold.

Daphne OdjigDaphne Odjig, Canadian Indigenous Artist and Icon Dies at 97. Click here for more details.

Odjig is frequently referred to as the "Grandmother of Indigenous Art." She has been the recipient of many awards, honours and recognitions for her works, to name a few: The Order of Canada, the Governor General's Award, and eight Honorary Doctorates. Her works have been shown in the National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

She established the first native-run fine art print house in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971. Known as 'Odjig Indian Prints,' this print house was so successful that it evolved into an Indigenous gallery space in 1974, called the New Warehouse Gallery, run by Odjig and her husband, Chester Beavon. She was also a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. This artistic group's purpose was to promote Contemporary Indigenous art and artists.

Alex JanvierAlex Janvier's major retrospective, "Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master" is now open at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario until January 21st, 2018. Afterwards, it will travel to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.

This exhibition was recently on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. (Photo credit: Kim Griffiths)

Rita LetendreGallery Gevik congratulates renowned Canadian and International abstract painter, Rita Letendre, on her first major museum retrospective exhibition outside of Québec. Rita Letendre: Fire and Light is now open until September 17, 2017 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This exhibition, which covers Letendre's career from the 1960's to 2000's, is co-curated by Wanda Nanibush and Georgiana Uhlyarik. The retrospective features nearly forty large-scale paintings drawn from major national public and private collections.

Letendre was widely exhibited with the artistic groups, Les Automatistes and Les Plasticiens. She has received the Governor General's Award in Visual Arts, the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas, and the Orders of Canada, Ontario and Québec. Click here for more details.