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  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
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  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
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  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
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  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
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  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
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  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
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  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
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  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
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  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
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  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
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  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
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  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
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  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
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  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
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  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
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  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
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  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
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  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
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  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
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  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
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Jim Swain: Paintings

By Robert Amos November 22, 2004

} Jim Swain: Paintings at the Community Arts Council Gallery By Robert Amos Jim Swain: Paintings at the Community Arts Council Gallery Sussex Place Suite G-6, 1001 Douglas Street, 381-2787, until November 17 An untitled acrylic on canvas from Jim Swain’s show at the Community Arts Council Jim Swain’s painting titled “Alcohol can take me there” was stridently coloured and had a dipsomaniac tilt to it. I noticed it about ten years ago at a fund-raising auction at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Seen across a room of wine-swilling yuppies, here was a work of art which spoke to its context. I approached the painting to check for a signature in the lower corner. The artist had inscribed it - not with his name, but with five letters - “words”. I laughed out loud. Whoever the artist was, he had grabbed my attention. Ten years later, on the eve of his latest show, I cornered the artist at his home and asked him a few questions. His Oak Bay bungalow was tidy, and richly furnished from Value Village. Four matching ceramic TV lamps, in the shape of ducks on the rise, battled for my attention with the many paintings of mountain splendour by unknown amateurs. “Ugly is just as interesting as beautiful,” Swain quipped, “and a lot cheaper!” His own paintings tend toward lurid primary colours, and all represent people in some state of existential extremis. “Now and then I drift back to a more conservative concept, but to me they are dismal failures. You can fool everybody but yourself. And, you know, those failures always sell the best!,” Swain lamented. Despite his overheated style, Swain apparently knows how to paint. He has degrees in education and “intellectual history”. He has exhibited in Victoria at Open Space, the Macpherson Theatre, through Art Rental, and this will be his third solo show at the Community Arts Council gallery. If his goal was to paint for the marketplace, he believes he could do it. “I could be an art forger in a wink,” he boasted. But Swain has principles. “Painting is a personal trip that you go on, “ he continued. “The thing is that you have to be totally honest. There are a million forces that pull you in this direction or that. On the market side, they ask is: the frame nice? can he really draw? And on the other side, you’re up to your ass in deconstructionism and philosophy. It’s difficult.” But for 30 years he has persisted. “It’s what I do. Art is a debate about the human condition. That’s what paintings have always talked about. I don’t think art should disappear on the wall. It should grab you and make you wonder.” Grab? Wonder? You bet! The current show presents 21 pictures, each 20 x 24 inches. They are framed with cheap lumber and duct tape. (The ones in his own living room had old brass picture lamps affixed to the frames). Swain’s strategy is to sell them all. The last three shows did indeed sell out, to some degree because each painting is priced at only $200. “I don’t charge much for them. I don’t want them filling up the basement. The ones that are sold are spread out and gone. I don’t want to think about them. If they came back, I’d probably paint over them.” Swain paused to contemplate that frightening thought. “Then it would be just me and the paintings. I don’t want that,” he insisted. Certainly Swain has his influences. The late, wild canvases of Picasso speak clearly to this 56 year old Victorian. Swain quotes his hero: “Art is an exquisite con.” And Andy Warhol’s example is a guiding light. Swain quotes him too: “Art is what you can get away with.” Songs from the existential void by Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits play over and over in this artist’s mind. “I’ve a terrible story to tell,” Swain offered. “As Tom Waits would say, “you’ve heard this story before, and here it comes again.”” He’s voluble and cultured, but seems to treasure the inhospitable secrecy of the carport studio in the secluded garden of his home. “I can hide in my darkened studio,” he chortled. I confess I have never seen a less well-lit painting place. To avoid interruption, he told me, “I lock it - from the inside.” There, he pokes and slashes with a select few primary colours of acrylic paint. His preferred brush is a congealed chunk of rigid bristle. I tried to bring our conversation around to the “meaning” of Swain’s work. The artist laughed. “Just look at the colour,” he demanded. “What more can I say? I’m already screaming at the top of my voice!”. Well, then, perhaps he’d tell me why he writes “words” in the lower right corner of each of the paintings. Obviously, he’d been asked that question before, and had a few answers lined up. “I can’t tell you,” he began, and paused to see it I’d accept that. “It’s a dada thing,” he offered next, referring to Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst. “Well, really,” he ventured at last, “I have this sort of ritual that, when I’ve signed a picture, it’s all over: it’s finished. I won’t touch it again. And once you’ve finished a picture, all that’s left is... words.” ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert 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

Notice Board

SUBMIT View

Current notices

There are no notices at this time.

Today's notices

  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
    View notice

  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
    View notice

  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
    View notice

  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
    View notice

  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
    View notice

  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
    View notice

  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
    View notice

  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
    View notice

  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
    View notice

  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
    View notice

  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
    View notice

  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
    View notice

  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
    View notice

  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
    View notice

  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
    View notice

  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
    View notice

  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
    View notice

  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
    View notice

  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
    View notice

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