Since the beginning of 2020, I’ve made a departure from relying on photographic reference material and am painting in a more fragmented approach, drawing from memory, and moving into abstraction. This process has pushed my work outside of the rigidity of realism and into a more physical aesthetic, pushing the materiality of paint forward. I’ve been trying to activate the painting’s surface by experimenting with different mediums, incorporating cut canvas collage elements and using synthetic colours like iridescent, fluorescent, and phosphorescent paint.
My paintings have had recurrent subject matter of driving for some time, but I think about these recent works like they’re almost autobiographical. Inspired from years of my wife and I travelling regularly back and forth between Halifax and Saint John and also from favorite music that I’ve appropriated song lyrics from. While this work has a more personal sentiment than what I’ve made in the past, the lyrics create a pop culture reference that frames the series into a conceptual narrative, giving a level of atmosphere to the work, and inclusivity to the viewer. I like to think about the paintings like tracks of music from a personal playlist you would listen to while coasting down the highway on a road trip.
I am grateful to acknowledge the support of Arts Nova for this work.
“I grew up in southern New Brunswick amidst expanding strip malls of Quispamsis and the sprawl of East Saint John. The commercial retail centres and the 15 minute highway commute between home and town has long served as inspiration for my work. In my paintings, I explore notions of landscape through themes of car-culture, consumerism, and sprawl.
My paintings portray colourful and busy landscapes; they can be romanticized or funny, but also can carry a dark realism. They create juxtapositions of natural and commercial space, and subvert clichéd traditional landscape painting of a idealized untouched Canadian environment, iconized in such paintings as Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. The compositions map out a geography of anonymity, a sort of nowhere typical of the outskirts of large North American cities. The spaces are deceiving, and perspective is often skewed. The paintings become their own fabricated environments; where placement of advertising, roads and infrastructure break up otherwise picturesque scenery,” Jack Bishop.
In this video by filmmaker Matthew Brown with help from Zoë Boyd, you’ll meet Bishop as he explores and documents the urban outskirts of Halifax. Back at his studio, you get a first hand look at his unique process of collaging photographs together and building the paintings.
Video courtesy of CBC Arts.
The Power of Colour: Jack Bishop’s Road Trip Playlist BY ELISSA BARNARD There’s a voice that keeps on calling me, down the road is where I’ll always be, oil and acrylic on canvas, 10 x 12 inches, 2020, Jack Bishop. Photo courtesy of Studio 21 Fine Art. Review|March 22, 2021 Stuck indoors due to COVID-19…Read More
New works by Jack Bishop and Susan Hubley “The skin around every city looks the same. Miles of flat neon spelling well-known names.” That line from Bruce Cockburn’s song, “Silver Wheels,” is as true now as it was in 1976. We have all had the experience of driving into some North American city down a…Read More
Shopping carts, strip malls, side roads and parking lots make up the Halifax painter’s ‘brandscapes’ Halifax-based visual artist Jack Bishop paints Canadian landscapes…but probably not in the way you’d imagine. Gone are the shimmering lakes, unspoilt forest, winding rivers and roaming wildlife. In their place: gas stations, fast food chains, strip malls and parking lots teeming with cars. These are the…Read More