IVAN KENNETH EYRE, R.C.A
oil on canvas
signed; also signed and titled on the stretcher
56 ins x 56 ins; 142.2 cms x 142.2 cms
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Ivan Eyre (b.1935) paints landscapes that are executed not from life but from his own visual memory. His paintings can be considered reflections of his own interior sense of self. While Asessippi is a real place, a river valley at the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, this painting is only an impression, a mental landscape that was felt by Eyre rather than one that has been observed at a specific time. Indeed, Eyre sometimes considers his landscapes to be “abstractions, not correct in the way a topographical engineer would view the world in terms of space and the laws of perspective.” Asessippi demonstrates that ably, as the fields of space and time seem to become compressed and folded onto each other even as they are stretched across the canvas. The changing seasons seem to be represented in the same landscape: icy, snowed-in foreground is followed by yellowed scrublands, before dissolving into long, green-blue forest that extends to the horizon. A curling river, careens into the distance, traced by a pale watershed in a looping diagonal. The slow draw of the landscape is elevated by Eyre’s almost staccato brushwork: paint is laid in teeming spots, with the whole scene emerging from the complexity of colour. The onus seems to be on the viewer to make sense of the painting, to figure out its ambiguous perspectival shifts and reclaim a comprehensive visual experience.
Executed with a clarity of vision, Asessippi fuses colour, texture, perception and memory to create an overwhelming and deeply personal psychological landscape.
Ivan Eyre, Pavilion Gallery, Winnipeg, 1999, unpaginated.
Private Collection, Toronto
Department: Canadian Fine Art