The Niagara Pumphouse is pleased to exhibit Common Ground, Featuring new paintings inspired by Niagara’s landscape by Daniel Pigeon and Julie Ponesse each reflecting their own style, Pigeon more abstract and Ponesse impressionistic and representative in nature. Please join us for the Opening Reception on Thursday April 4, 7-9 p.m.
Viewers of the exhibit will be able to see the journey the two artists took to get to their finished paintings, with Pigeon’s painted in oils and Ponesse’s in acrylic.
They started by separately taking photographs of Niagara landscapes, then jointly sorted through the photos to select the ones that spoke the most strongly to them, whether the sparkling Niagara River meeting Lake Ontario, a bubbling brook flowing through a farm or a lush, green vineyard. They then worked up sketches of the same scene before painting larger works that depicts Niagara’s unique light.
The ground, the “solid surface of the earth,” is the place where the sky reaches down to meet us, where vegetation springs forth from the soil, and where nature bustles around us as we move through our chaotic days. But for artists, it is also the “plain surface upon which the figures of the composition are set”; the basis, foundation, and starting point for artistic expression.
“Common Ground” arose from an admiration for the Niagara region, an area that glows with hot summer days that are cooled by the lake breeze, and that brims with lush fields and sparkling rivers. In this exhibit, Pigeon and Ponesse have portrayed various Niagara landscapes using their own individual styles. Whether the subject is a shadow cast across a wheat field or the swirl of a river’s eddy, they are searching for the basic patterns, colours, and shapes which emerge from the land.
Whether an artist is an abstract or a representational painter, painting is all about light, the subject that makes the art of Rembrandt, Turner, and Letendre so compelling. To omit all details from a landscape, one is left with the essential; the essence of light.
The light that sprawls across Niagara is unique. Though their treatments differ, Pigeon and Ponesse share a deep awe and respect for light. Though Pigeon finds gloomy and foggy winter days to be especially moving, the aspect he admires most about light is its ability to obscure a landscape in any season. He associates light with the human experience of contemplation, an energy that permeates all aspects of human life. Ponesse, on the other hand, admires light’s ability to create a full range of values, temperatures and levels of intensity, and is particularly drawn to strongly lit scenes such as the glow of the sun dropping behind a dark tree line.
For this exhibit, Pigeon and Ponesse put brush to canvas to capture the same landscapes in their own unique styles. They each began by making a small sketch of the scene in order to capture its essence. As they moved from sketch to finished piece, the sketch served as a reminder of their initial impression of the scene, and helped them to resist overworking so as to let the nature and textures of the land — and the trees, sky, clouds and water — to come through.
The initial image, sketch, and larger piece are exhibited together to allow the viewer to see the stages of the artists’ respective creative processes.
“There is a value to spontaneity that ‘finish’ can never equal.”
— Charles Movalli