Tuesday, 16 February 2016

New Exhibition: Ernesto Cánovas Show at London's Halycon Gallery

The Spanish artist working in his studio photographed by Susan Bell. Courtesy of Halycon Gallery
Ernesto Cánovas' new exhibition Multiplied opens today at Halycon Gallery in London's Mayfair. Lissandra Hemilton talks to the Spanish artist about his life and elegiac work that mixes different mediums such as printmaking, photography and painting to create an evanescent sense of memory and a disconcerting wistfulness

A Second Implication by Ernesto CanovasCourtesy of Halycon Gallery
“Drawing, painting and photography give me the chance to manipulate the image the way I want and create something new but I am also considering other mediums as a form of expression,” Ernesto Cánovas says from his studio in London. “I like to keep an open mind.” The artist breaks down barriers between figurative images and abstraction and creates new narratives from both old and new media.
Difference in the Expressive Function of Current Events
“I consider myself a post analog painter,” he says. “I used digital image manipulation before I translated it to painting, so drawing and painting for me are just one part of my process.” Cánovas adds and removes layers from the wood panels onto which he transfers images combining them with abstract compositions. He works and reworks them before they are varnished and the finished works seem weather beaten, evoking sensations of lost places, nostalgia and memory, challenging the viewer to contemplate the fleeting present while being drawn back into a unknown past.

Green Room. Courtesy of Halycon Gallery 
Asked about what part of his work gives him the most happiness, Cánovas answers: “I think there is not a specific point for me that gives me happiness (love and hate) it is the whole process, from the first idea or the sketch to the final 'brush mark'.” For the new show Multiplied, Cánovas has created a series of works using large scale mixed media on wood panel, that continues his exploration of cinema, abstraction and found imagery. The use of different materials applied to the wooden canvas such as graphite drawings, acrylic, mixed media, enamel paint and resin create a strong sense of natural and man-made and past and present. At the new exhibition, some of the work on display is a collaborative partnership between Ernesto and his wife, Polish artist Gracjana Rejemer-Cánovas.

Conspiracy. Courtesy of Halycon Gallery
Today, Canovas lives and works in London, but he was born in Barcelona and this year will start a residency at the prestigious Art Centre Espronceda in his home city. The artist graduated with a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 and then went on to complete an MFA from the Slade School of Art in London in 2011. He was selected for The New Contemporaries Exhibition in Edinburgh and was awarded the Stevenson Award for Painting in 2010 and received the Premio Ora arts award in 2013.

1. Where did you grow up and does this place still influence your artwork? I grew up in Barcelona and I’m sure there is some Mediterranean influence in my work, somehow.

2. Why did you choose painting and drawing as your artistic métier? Drawing, painting and photography give me the chance to manipulate the image the way I want it and create something new but I am also considering others mediums as a form of expression. I like to keep an open mind.

3. What aspect of painting and drawing gives you the most happiness? I think there is not a specific point for me that gives me happiness (love and hate) it is the whole process, from the first idea or the sketch to the final “brush mark”.

4. What do you find the most challenging aspect of your work? To create something that will fully satisfy me.

Systematic Ambiguity. Halycon Gallery 
5. Can you describe the experience, person or training that has had the greatest impact on your artistic career? Travelling around always had an impact on my work. Finding out different cultures is very rewarding. People in cities like New York, London and Paris just to name a few are full of energy and have a great influence on my life and career.

6. Describe your studio and whether you have a set schedule of working everyday? Or is the process more fluid? I’m very flexible when it comes to studio work, sometimes I can be there from 7am and spend all day at the studio, or I will just stay home reading and doing some research …somedays a walk in the park will do.

7. Do you find your creative process is more rational or instinctive? I work ninety per cent instinctively, ten per cent rationally but at the end of the day it all makes sense…I think!

8. How would you describe working as a contemporary artist in Europe today? Europe has a great diversity and awareness from South to North…East to West. It is a good place to be for as an artist.

9. Is there a particular town or place in the world you find inspiring? As I have mentioned before big cities full of energy are always inspiring to me.

10. In our digital age, what do painting and drawing give us as art forms? I consider myself a post-analog painter. I used digital image manipulation before I translated it to painting so drawing and painting for me is just one part of my process…maybe drawing and painting give us the human touch the we connect with.

Multiplied by Ernesto Canovas runs from February16th until March 13th 2016 at Halycon Gallery:144-146 New Bond Street, London, W1S 2PF United Kingdom. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7100 7144 Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 10am-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm: www.halcyongallery.com/exhibitions/ernesto-canovas-multiplied



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