Portraiture is looking at ourselves

Heads Up as an exhibition speaks to these artists’ concepts of investigations of a particular person or their imaginative thoughts.


Heads Up, Aug. 6 to Oct. 17

ARTE functional-The Factory

1302 St. Paul St. Kelowna


Heads Up is comprised of a group exhibition of portraits by four artists:  Ann Kipling of Falkland;   David T. Alexander of Lake Country; Robert Bigelow of Vancouver;   Malcolm Mooney from New York who currently lives in Calgary.

After visiting Alexander’s studio a few months ago and discovering his “Portrait Series,” it didn’t take long for Carolina Sanchez de Bustamante to develop the idea for the Heads Up exhibition at her downtown Kelowna art gallery.

For this exhibition, while these four artists have portraiture in common, their approach and aesthetic is unique to each of them.

Each has decades of individual creative research that provides viewers of the artwork deep insights that goes far beyond the superficial.

There are drawings, collages, mixed media, and prints in this exhibition.

The significance of Heads Up as an exhibition speaks to these artists’ concepts of investigations of a particular person or their imaginative thoughts in exploring shifting identities.

As Carin Covin writes about the participating artists for the exhibition catalogue, Ann Kipling has made a lifelong commitment to the medium of drawing.

With the emergence of contemporary drawing as an autonomous discipline in and of itself, it has been described as a medium unencumbered by the patriarchal legacy found within modernism, where drawing was always thought to be preliminary act before producing a painting or a sculpture.

David T. Alexander’s works in this exhibition are all on paper. There is no privilege given to archival materials. The choice is made from what is at hand in the moment.

This can mean using commercial papers, millboard which is used in bookmaking, heavy card made from prairie wheat stalks, or archival papers that Alexander has found in stores around the world. Each type of paper reflects a different patina and surface that is unique to each finished portrait.

As an artist, Malcolm Mooney embodies the term interdisciplinary, which can be described as a failure to notice boundaries, or rather, an act of creation that involves multiple sites of thinking.

Mooney is known for his singing/vocal arts, his poetry, and his visual art work.

Robert Bigelow states that he has adopted the practice of automatism and the process of automatic drawing and painting.

Art history is familiar with this philosophy on many fronts. As a young man, living with this heightening sense of the monumental changes of values in American society that were occurring all around him in the 1960s in Los Angeles, Bigelow made a commitment to a lifetime discipline of spiritual research and creative practice.

“The arts, (visual arts, music, theatre, creative writing, etc.) give us a platform to oppose this drift into compliance,” Bigelow has said.

As French philosopher Jacques Lacan suggests, it is only when we are looking at the other that we can recognize ourselves.