Robert Michener: Gorge Series
Ian Tan Gallery
Vancouver BC July 12-31, 2008
Robert Michener, Spring Wind, Cliffs, Crows and Angler (1997), oil on linen [Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver BC, Jul 12-31]
In a new series of oil paintings on linen and canvas (fondly described as the "Gorgeous Gorges"), Surrey-based artist Robert Michener creates large and mesmerizing oblique views of cool chasms and river canyons. The fictional panoramas of rock and exquisitely patterned foliage are lightly punctuated with free-wheeling birds or fly fishermen far below. With their cool colours and serene patterns, the images are nostalgic, almost feminine in feeling.
Michener's farm paintings of the 1980s and early 90s with their quilt-like compositions and spatial flattening were influenced by traditional Chinese landscape painting. Like those invented landscapes of simplified forms, tshe Minnesota-born artist carefully constructs new flattened views of the Canadian wilderness. The Gorge Series was inspired by a recent auto trip through the stratified geological structures of the Rocky Mountains, where he was reminded of fly fishing in his youth among in the dramatic limestone gorges and ravines of rural Minnesota.
Robert Michener earned his BA in 1957 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. After two years in the US Army, he earned his MFA at the University of Minnesota in 1962. Michener taught art at the University of Minnesota, Western Washington (Bellingham) and the University of Cincinnati before immigrating to Canada in l973. He was a popular instructor at the Emily Carr Institute (formerly The Vancouver School of Art) from 1973-1999. His sought-after works are included in more than two hundred public, corporate and private collections in Canada, the US and Europe.