GOING ON HALLIDAY
Some late-career artists are canonized for simply having survived. On the one hand, official Canadian art history will remember them fondly; on the other, such work is often considered boring by younger artists and curators. Collectors, of course, see the dollar signs and love it.
Take, for example, Richard Halliday 's new Constellation series. One of the pieces is being added to the Canadiana Collection and will soon hang in the PM's home at 24 Sussex Drive.
Halliday, who graduated from the Vancouver School of Art (later known as the Emily Carr Institute) in 1963, puts a twist on abstract expressionism. His automatism - a process that involves recording unmediated primal gestures on the canvas - dates him, but the current show is fresh paint in a style that made an indelible mark in its day.
For the past four years, Halliday has been working with a particular form. He covers large matte-black canvases in a series of sparse white lines applied with an oil stick. He then draws lines in a quick succession of gestures in a pattern of arcs and spirals and picks out certain lines to be thickened and redrawn. This phase, a study in the manipulation of density and thickness of line, creates a sense of depth.
The eye takes in these "self-portraits" first as a whole, then traces the lines in and out of the depth they create. Interesting, not fascinating.
But what will Paul Martin think? I can just see him spluttering his way through an explanation of the work to the slight embarrassment of a visiting foreign dignitary.
see related review, Coleville's craft
Going on Halliday
RICHARD HALLIDAY at Lehmann Leskiw Schedler Fine Art (626 Richmond West), to August 22. 416-922-1914. Rating: NNN