Contemporary Art | Gary McMillan

Economical use of three bears - 2014 - oil on canvas - 33in x 40in web
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Economical Use of Three Bears

Technique: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 33x40 in.

Price: $3,475 Cdn.


Artist Statement
Whenever I walk in the woods, I wonder if I am going to encounter a black bear. I’m not generally very worried because in all my years walking, I never have. Usually, I am just enjoying the appearance and the perfume of spruce trees in the hot sun. In this painting, I fabricated a warm meadow scattered with perfect spruce trees of just the right size to be ornamental. The equally ornamental bears could play hide and seek in them for the tourists. I used only three bear types and four tree types to illustrate economy of design. In designing a complex image, it is not necessary for every object to be unique. A few examples repeated in a random way looks like a large number of unique things. In fact, it is quite difficult to spot and count the original examples if they number more than three. This idea of the copy vs the unique is central to painting. Everything I paint, even if I am trying to reproduce an existing passage, is unique. There is always some detectable variation when a thing is hand made. Yet, if I am painting an image of a real object, I am only making a kind of copy of its appearance. In this painting, only the background squiggles are unique, although one could claim they are slightly inaccurate copies of squiggles.

About the Artist

Having grown up in Calgary, Gary McMillan attended the University of Calgary in 1978 to 1980, studying science and fine-art. He exhibited paintings of Alberta landscape throughout the 1980’s, and then attended Alberta College of Art and Design from 1989 to 1991. Holding a double major in painting and printmaking, he received a Diploma with Distinction in 1991. Employing the use of the human figure and landscape, he currently produces themed series of paintings infused with the absurd. He has exhibited in a number of group and solo shows in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. His work is held in various private and corporate collections in Western Canada.


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