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James Gordanner's No Hold Barred

September 26, 2011

Artist James Gordaneer’s incredible career has spanned over half a century during which he has become legendary within the Canadian art scene. Beginning October 2nd at The Bartlett Gallery, located in the Alton Mill Arts Centre, select works from this past decade of Gordaneer’s career will be on display in his show entitled No Holds Barred.  

Evident in much of Gordaneer’s work is the influence of the early years of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Largely impacted by some of the most prominent artists of the era, Francis Bacon ,Arshile Gorky and Dutch Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning, much of Gordaneers work reflects the element of realism prevalent during those early years.  Although James Gordaneer is most frequently referred to an Abstract Expressionist, his curiosity has driven him to paint without the boundaries of style.Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s contemporary curator, Nicole Stanbridge states:

  “He’s experienced so many shifts in painting in Canadian art and he has consistently kept his own unique identity throughout that….He hasn’t felt limited by being classified to one style or one movement, so that flexibility has allowed him to experiment. He’s never felt really inhibited to try those things...”

Time has not slowed the work or exploration of James Gordaneer. His growth as a painter continues as does the complexity of his work. In 2010 his work and life became the subject of a book written by Lisa Baldissera and Nicole Stanbridge,  James Gordaneer – A Life in Painting. The book serves as a retrospective of a career still unfolding that will forever mark many eras of the art world.

James’ show atThe Bartlett Gallery’s October show, No Holds Barred, will feature work from the past decade, a time during which James Gordaneer has said he feels a ‘licence to be free’ in his work. As a result, visitors to the show will experience this freedom in his incredible understanding of colour and rhythm.

In a sense No Holds Barred, is a homecoming for Gordaneer, who lived in Orangeville and taught in the Arts Department at Orangeville District Secondary School. For the past thirty-five years James and family have made Victoria BC their home. Here Gordaneer pursued a teaching career at the University of Victoria, Camosun College and the Victoria College of Art while continuing, in his discipline of painting daily, his prolific painting career.

James had intended to be present at the opening reception but due to a sudden illness will not be able. Instead, Gordaneer plans to appear via Skype to personally address those in attendance.

No Holds Barredruns from October 2 to October 23 at The Bartlett Gallery in the Alton Mill Arts Centre. Opening and Reception on October 2 from 1 – 4pm.