This is our first solo exhibition for PEI artist Hans Wendt. Wendt is known for his large-scale photo-realistic watercolour paintings of common objects found in an artist’s studio. Our exhibition features 9 new watercolour paintings of carefully composed cut, ripped, folded and torn paint samples. Painted trompe l’oeil, the work shifts between photorealism, abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art.
Wendt describes the act of painting as a celebration and that, as a painter, you cannot escape the history of painting or history of abstraction in the process. In the past, he has looked to the large minimalist paintings of Gerhard Richter, Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, but also the Old Masters. Wendt is a pleasure seeker, honouring both art history, colour and technique in these watercolours. For Wendt, the physical act of painting is like a dance, an intense meditation exploring the joy of painting.
“My painting process of the past decade involves taking snapshots of objects from my studio: oil pastels, colour swatches, crumpled paper, and foregrounding them as subjects for large, trompe l’oeil watercolor paintings on paper. Watercolour technique guides my formal investigation of these objects, moving in between photorealism and abstraction. In doing so I am creating a dialogue about painting within my studio practice that acknowledges the programmatic accomplishments of conceptualism while celebrating the focus and skill demanded by this technical medium.
I am a watercolour painter who enjoys the technical and conceptual challenge of using a sensual medium to make aesthetically-pleasing paintings that also make you think about how images work and how we read them. I aim for a combination of representational, abstract, and conceptual interpretations through a seemingly straightforward, but ultimately mysterious representation of an object or objects, often against a stark background, and generally selected from studio materials at hand.” Hans Wendt
Hans Wendt was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1973 and raised in Prince Edward Island. He has been active as an artist in various mediums for most of his adult life, but began painting seriously following one year of studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1993. He has also worked in a ceramics studio, as a finish carpenter, cabinetmaker and boat builder. Before his permanent move to Millvale, PEI, he lived in Toronto, LA and Washington where he was known as a co-producer of multimedia performances and designer of sets, Brueghelesque murals and staged events. Since 1999, Wendt has focused on the creation of conceptually driven watercolour paintings.
Recent exhibitions include “Recent Work” at The Apartment in Vancouver, BC; “Oh, Canada”, MASS MoCA, Massachusetts, Esker Foundation, Calgary and Gallerie d’Art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen, Moncton NB; “Hans Wendt/Studio Painting”, Confederation Centre Art Gallery; and “In/Flux: Migrating Culture and Cultural Modernism in PEI”, Confederation Centre Art Gallery.
In 2013 he was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award. His work is in the public collections of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Benetton Collection and many private collections across Canada and the United States.
He currently lives and works in Millvale, PEI.