Exhibitions - Josh Tiessen: Watching Paint Peel: Weathering Effects of Nature and Time

Please join us for our Opening Reception on Sunday July 2, 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Watching Paint Peel: Weathering Effects of Nature and Time is on display July 1 - August 6, 2017.

Artist's Statement
Although I have experimented with a variety of subject matter, I frequently choose nature and wildlife, as I take delight in emphasizing the beauty, particularity and diversity of creation. I enjoy unique angles on nature, animals and, more recently, people. I am also fascinated by the weathering effects of nature and the elements on architectural structures as they age. The interaction between the natural world and manmade structures is of particular interest to me, often giving rise to metaphors, which highlight truth, beauty and the longing for ultimate restoration in the world.

My studio gallery, located in Olde Stoney Creek, is situated in a large sunroom at the back of my home with a beautiful, inspiring view of the Niagara Escarpment. Every day I am treated to the sights and sounds of a wide variety of birds chirping away in my backyard as I paint. One of my favourite pastimes is hiking the Bruce Trail, which I can access on foot just down the road from my studio, sometimes joining hikes with The Hamilton Naturalists' Club. I bike the Waterfront Trail of Lake Ontario a couple kilometers from my home, and frequent the Eramosa Karst, a protected conservation land located a short drive away.

All of these local places and experiences, backed by the first six years of my life spent in Russia, and travels across Canada, the U.S. and to many other countries (most recently Europe) provide an endless supply of creative ideas and inspiration for my work. I have studied and sketched the masters of realism in galleries around the world. My camera and sketchbook go everywhere I do, recording subjects for future compositions.
Although I experimented early on with various styles, my artistic style referred to as contemporary realism, best reflects who I am as a person because it combines the patient attention to fine detail with my experiences of interacting in the natural world. For this reason there is often a personal story behind each painting, however without this knowledge it is up to the viewer to unravel the mystery of the scene. My studies in philosophy, theology and liberal arts all undergird the deep thought process behind my work.

I use up to thirty of my photos as references for each painting, combining their elements into a composition on my laptop computer. I use my photos merely as resources to support the composition, which forms in my mind as I work on a series of sketches. Each painting takes 200-600 hours to complete, but for me the long process is the most enjoyable part.

The conversation between my subjects and their environments is important to me, and I have increasingly given attention to environments to elevate them from mere backgrounds. I am interested in juxtaposing the contrasts that naturally occur in nature but are sometimes blurred by idyllic landscapes often seen in traditional art.

Recurring elements in my work are surface textures and long shadows, which give rise to abstract shapes and accentuate the trompe l'oeil effect. A unique distinction that has become my trademark, is the non-quadrilateral shape of my paintings and how the image continues in high realism detail around the 2" sides of braced Baltic birch panels, creating a truly three-dimensional work of art — my contemporary response to the classical masters of realism.

Artist's Biography
Josh Tiessen is a young international award-winning artist from Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. Considered one of the world's top 10 prodigy artists (Huffington Post) and the only known male art prodigy in North America (Dr. J. Ruthsatz, global child prodigy expert). Tiessen was juried in as the youngest member of International Guild of Realism (IGOR) ranked among foremost realist artists from around the world, Artists for Conservation (AFC) and Society of Animal Artists (SAA) elite groups of the top nature and wildlife artists worldwide.

Mentored by masters like acclaimed Canadian artist Robert Bateman, Tiessen has exhibited his work for the past decade in 80 exhibitions including the National Gallery of Canada and top galleries in the United States, having sold upwards to 90 original works and hundreds of limited edition giclée prints to private and corporate Canadian and international collectors. Featured in more than 140 magazine and newspaper articles and on TV, speaking and teaching at 40 venues, making 75 invited art donations to charitable organizations, and establishing his own "Arts for a Change Foundation," he has garnered over 50 awards and honours including IGOR Creative Achievement, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Canada's Top 20 Under 20 for his artistic accomplishment and philanthropic work.

In spite of this early success, Tiessen humbly acknowledges that his artistic talent is a gift from God. His artistic style is contemporary high realism. He delights in showing the beauty and diversity of creation, and the image of God in human creativity.