Exhibitions - The Things I See: Robert Bora

Welland artist Robert Bora challenges us to see everyday things in a different way in his new exhibit at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre. “I paint what I see and how I see it,” Bora says, explaining the title. “The everyday, ordinary, recognizable things from the real world around me that some may take for granted or ignore.”

His oil paintings show vignettes from either the interior of homes or the architectural exterior: a bird cage sitting in front of a window, a coffee cup on a dresser, the roof peak of a house. All are painted in strong, warm colours in realist style and a minimalist precision, with straight lines and angles, with many paintings featuring windows.

Bora says he uses windows to draw a viewer into a painting. “Windows are a recurring theme I use, not to offer a view to the outside, but rather to trap the viewer inside, hoping to conjure up a memory or feeling of the moment in time.”

His ideas are sparked while out walking or driving and, after they grow in his mind, he tries to translate their emotional meaning to canvas in meticulous fashion while in his studio, a creation process that echoes Canadian realist artists such as Christopher Pratt and Alex Colville.

“The words to describe my style is minimalist, representational, realism,” Bora says. “Capturing light, shadow, shape and colour are the four main constants in my paintings, all hoping to capture a more defined intensity and lasting emotional memory.”

I completed my very first oil painting in 1967 at the age of fourteen. I was hooked. Now, fifty one years later I'm still trying to get it right. I can't imagine how many cups of coffee that adds up to. You know, to be totally honest, I really don't love to paint. It's really hard work. It's a struggle just to go to my studio every day, but I eventually do and I get to work. Why? Because it's what I do, because I can and because I want to. I want to do it more than anything, and because of that, whatever I'm painting has to be worth it or else I'm wasting my time.

Capturing light, shadow, shape and colour is everything in my paintings. Most of my ideas derive from personal memories or observing the everyday objects immediately around us that we see but rarely notice or simply take for granted. I then take those images and rearrange them by reducing their complexities and minimizing them to their simplest forms creating a sense of order and comfort.

The French poet, writer, Exupery wrote; "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more left to take away." This is what I base my entire process on.

Mostly self-taught
Studied Under:
Alice Hood
Ken Cosgrove

2017 Carmel Art Festival
2018 Pelham Art Festival
2018 Carmel Art Festival
2019 Pelham Art Festival
2019 Solo Exhibition Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre

Works held in private collections across Canada and Australia