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  • Social Media Marketing for Artists

    Location: Markham, ON

    The Markham Group of Artists presents Charie Ginete-Ilon, who will be presenting Social..
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  • KANA WAIN DIDA - Looking after each other

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  • 6th Annual Artist's Choice Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 6th Annual Artist’s Choice art competition for..
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  • 11th Annual

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    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2021 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

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  • Lebel Mansion Gallery Call for Submissions for 2022 Gallery Season

    Location: Pincher Creek, AB

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  • Large Works

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    Our annual winter show of large works is now on display at the..
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  • The Chelsea International Photography Competition

    Location: New York, AB

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  • 12th Artist Spotlight Solo Art Competition

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  • Call for Proposals: AGO X RBC Artist-in-Residence Program 2021

    Location: Toronto , ON

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  • Call For Visual Artists-Boynes Emerging Artist Award 4th Edition

    Location: Melbourne,

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  • A Mysterious Attraction: A new spin on gravitational art

    Location: Port Moody, BC

    Meet the artists at a Virtual Opening Reception and tour of the exhibition. Edzy..
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  • $550.00 Innovate Grants — Call for Artists + Photographers

    Location: , FL

    Innovate Grant is now accepting submissions for the Winter 2021 Cycle. Innovate Grant..
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    Location: Ottawa, ON

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Duncan Regehr - 'Corvus Rex' at the Winchester Galleries

By Robert Amos November 24, 2003

} Duncan Regehr - 'Corvus Rex' at the Winchester Galleries Sunset I am the ragged seive of others regrets outstretched on a yoke of ignorance but I have always known what I wanted I am only waiting for the wings. Duncan Regehr Duncan Regehr seems larger than life. He’s taller than average, and carries himself with the confident deportment born of a successful career on stage and screen. Working from his homes in Santa Monica and Shawnigan Lake, he exhibits his art in galleries in California, New York and Scotland. His success is due in equal parts to his innate ability and the diligence with which he pursues his art. Corvus Rex, his new series of drawings and paintings, is now on show at Winchester Galleries (2260 Oak Bay Avenue, until November 29). It was three years in the making and is accompanied by a 148 page catalogue. Duncan Regehr, Quill V, ink on paper, 24 x 18 inches Regehr was born in Alberta and raised in Victoria. He is the son of Peter Regehr, a microbiologist whose life-long passion for painting had an influence on Duncan. After brief periods at University of Victoria (1971) and Camosun College (1972), Duncan Regehr moved to Ontario where he pursued his theatrical career - first at Stratford and Toronto and then, in 1980, in film and on stage in California. He has also pursued his passion for paint and poetry. One of Regehr’s earlier publications describes his pictures succinctly: 'highly focussed compositions situate one or more persons in a close, yet colourful space that is often shared with a variety of thematically related objects.' The artist’s theatrical background informs these compositions. Each is based on one or more figures, emphasizing character and relationships. The characters occupy a shallow space bathed in dramatic lighting. And, though some sort of realism is intended, the characters live in a world of their own. These pictures may remind you of somewhere, but these are not depictions of an external reality. There is always a imaginative narrative at work, settting up relationships between the parts, which pulls the viewer deep into the characters’ thoughts and situations. These are symbolic paintings. Earlier experiences with Regehr’s imagery have made me uncomfortable. I recall many faces of innocence - children, maidens, the elderly - stuck in threatening situations, in isolation or alone in a crowd. His jewel-like colours, like enamels or stained glass, seem almost toxic in effect, and create a claustrophobic world deeply dyed with anxiety. Toys, dolls and voluptuous blooms crowd in, offering neither peace nor nourishment. Regehr patiently evolves his potent imagery, circling in on it through drawing, painting and lots of poetry. His themes are presented in the accompanying words, though I confess I find this poetry congested with overwrought imagery. As he wrote in a previous book, 'a verbal or literal attempt at illumination is likely to confuse, oversimplify or miss the mark altogether.' So I return to the art work and try to figure it out myself. The current exhibit, titled Corvus Rex, consists of 26 paintings, 42 large drawings in ink and pencils. This body of work has developed along two related themes. The first is the crow - corvus rex - who is black and contains a malevolent energy. His eye glints, his beak is at the ready, and his outsized legs and vicious talons hold ... an egg. The crow is black - the egg is white: the beginning and the end. In most cases, the crow is set against a dark earth and a dark sky. The rising or setting sun (beginning and ending...) sheds no light. It’s hard not to think of Edgar Alan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock. A parallel theme is the scarecrow. With its wide-eyed childlike innoncence I doubt that this straw man (or woman or child) would give Corvus Rex much to fear. A human form is hidden, trapped, emerging from within the inanimate scarecrow. Its living hands and face animate that false form of life hung on a stick. Patched and tattered, made of castoffs and throwaways, the scarecrow represents the end of life’s cycle. Which the child within begins again. Duncan Regehr, Hatch, oil on canvas, 45 x 35 inches The scarecrow motif calls up a crucifixion: a living breathing person tied to dead posts. Cunningly, Regehr continues the analogy. The cross becomes a crutch, a fence, a scaffold. With a surrealistic approach, Regehr juxtaposes isolated objects - ears of corn, old shoes, umbrellas, schoolbells, feathers, keys, brooms, candles - with the lonely scarecrow. No matter what your take on this baleful imagery, Regehr’s technique is impressive - and obsessive. Perhaps the willingness to spend hours with a pen fits neatly into the actor’s life - lots of hours of waiting. Large pen drawings of crows are masterpieces of Regehr’s distinctive and elegant line. They seem to be made more of leaves and straw than feathers, and in this way the crow itself becomes a scarecrow. In this show, Regehr’s usual carnival of colours has been subsumed under layers of dark glaze. The crows are as if transfixed in a timeless sunset on Mars. The scarecrows, and the people who seem to be born within them, wait for something in this lowering emptiness. Minutely scratched renderings of straw, feathers, woodgrain and the tattered weaving of worn out clothes yield to glimpses of a smooth, opalescent glow of flesh. Regehr’s skill and thought demand honest consideration. I admire his approach to art, his dexterity with metaphor and his radiant technique. I confess I don’t feel personally engaged by his subject matter. But I am sure Duncan Regehr is not expressing these profound visions just to make me happy. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2003 Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B. C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com