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Stephen Unser: “Canadiana”

Harrison Galleries,
Vancouver Apr 24-May 5

Stephen Unser, Rocky Shore Birches, (2002) oil on canvas [Harrison Galleries, Vancouver, Apr 2-May 5]
Port Coquitlam painter Stephen Unser brings a brilliant tropical palette to the forests, trees and shores of the British Columbia landscape. Not since the Group of Seven has the Canadian backwoods been treated so vigorously.

In a loose style of thick brushwork and deep impasto, Unser delineates the contours of the Pacific Northwest terrain. His keen eye for the sculptural shapes of trees and the mosaic patterns of underbrush found in British Columbia is matched only by his painterly sense of design. Although his oils on canvas are small in scale – most are between eight to twelve inches – within these tiny spaces he manages to inscribe a variegated abundance of flora. The works in this exhibit trace the seasons, from deep winter to lively spring thaw, from pristine summer to the riotous tapestry of autumn.

Unser finds inspiration for his expressionism in the cultural variations of Canada’s citizens. As he puts it, “These constructed landscape images bring together narrative elements of tradition and cultural diversity”. In a romantic spirit, his paintings pay tribute to the ethnic diversity he finds in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

© Mia Johnson


 Mon, Apr 1, 2002