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At The Gallery
John Hall and Alexandra HaesekerJanuary 22 to April 9, 2011
Photo-realist painters John Hall and Alexandra Haeseker have shared many experiences and interests since meeting in Calgary in the early 1970’s. Both were teachers, John at the University of Alberta and Alexandra at the Alberta College of Art and Design and both spent six months of each year in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico. It is out of this “commonality of experience” that Pendulum Pendula, a series of twelve collaborative paintings produced between 1992 and 1998 were derived.
Although collaboration is both common, and even necessary, in theatre, film, and dance art forms it is rare within the field of visual arts, aside from installation projects. Beyond the mutual trust and respect required is “the practical challenge of bringing each canvas to synthesis involved, as indeed it would have to with any similar creative endeavour of this nature; a simultaneous degree of creative compromise, intellectual commonality, a common handling or technique in the use of the medium , and a commonality in their aesthetic dispositions towards the pictorial deployment of form and content within the area of the canvas.
In the case of Haeseker and Hall, the setting up of the photo shoot, whereby material is assembled and collected by each artist and then set out in a ‘tableau’ to be photographed, provides the venue in which the pictorial engagement with what to paint is first played out, and the character of the eventual pictorial outcome first indicated. Objects and images are juxtaposed, montaged over one another. Some are chosen not for what they might imply or mean but for their visual characteristics, their colour, texture, and materiality. But just as equally others appear resonant with meaning or symbol, underlined sometimes by their colour or patterning. But whatever the variety of what the two painters assembled in this initial part of the process, their choices do not and did not exist in an experiential or cultural vacuum; for what they assembled reveals a critical commonality of experience that both painters share, namely that of Mexico.”