Places We Are Found
Two Person Exhibition
Christina Parker Gallery, 2023
I am a part of all that I have met (Tennyson, Ulysses)
A sense of place resonates as more than mere background. A hillside, a river, the ocean, or an iconic building, even the traditions, customs, and relationships within that community all contribute its identity. The exploration of places anew inspires us to seek what is beyond our sights, seizing the opportunity to expand our personal growth and fulfilment, even finding new meaning in what could be the familiar.
In this exhibition, Emilie and Mike Fantuz respectively use a variety of artistic techniques to illustrate the impact of the experience of place, showing how different perceptions of St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, have singularly affected them. Emilie transforms the reality of intimate and unexpected scenes into a tableaux of detailed forms. By evoking a reflection and immersion of self in the landscape through window scenes and urban street corners, she pictorially slows down the rapid pace of a changing world by giving permanence to a mutable urban environment.
By way of contrast, Mike portrays a more holistic overview of the urban and coastal landscape. Through the use of drone imagery and aeronautical charts, he focuses intensely upon the complexity of a vast landscape, thereby giving meaning and coherence to the details of place which recur in our daily lives.
In time, both Emilie and Mike fully responded to the life changing aspects of place, seemingly static but always changing. Emilie, enlivened by the sense of a new and promising environment, seized the opportunity to portray the varied features of a new place in a new land. For his part, Mike, returning to the land and once again viewing his former home mirrored the past, retrospectively highlighting what he had left behind during his absence.
In this exhibition, the intense colour and intricate space division found in the paintings, determined by the unique use of palette knives, testify to the transformative role of place that Mike and Emilie have realized anew in the city of St. John’s. Through the exploration of place, it is often the unexpected things we find within that contribute to the incremental path of growth.