Christian Worthington and Keith Wood will be presenting their latest Abstract works
E P H A N I A H G A L L E R Y
O I L A N D W A X
The gallery will officially open April 14 in artist William Eakin’s former studio space on Donald Street, with its inaugural group exhibition Oil and Wax.
This exhibition will feature the complimentary styles of Worthington’s fresh, ethereal abstracts, and veteran artist Keith Wood’s bold, temerarious encaustics, set in the fresh, airy, cosmopolitan atmosphere of Worthington’s Exchange District gallery and personal studio space.
Both painters work in Abstraction, which led to the show’s inception.
“We’re crossing collectors,” says Worthington, who contacted Wood when he saw one of his paintings in a client’s home. Obviously the overlap indicated a synergy in their styles.
With the true sense of the “Avant-garde” associated with Abstract painting having been purportedly long-since exploited, Wood, 67, and Worthington, 34, choose to mine the old to create fresh, transcendent, and beautiful works that evoke a sense of awe and timelessness.
The pairing is an intriguing probe into the ideas surrounding the history of art, as both artists explore the same ideas spanning opposite ends of the past 50 years. In addition, they each display masterful executions of oil and encaustic painting (molten wax with pigment), both technically tricky mediums that date back to the Masters of the Renaissance.
Both artists are comfortable admitting that they contradict the “narrative of art theory” where an artist attempts try to break a tradition.
Their congenial refusal to join the grand narrative of art history has kept them on the fringes of the “trendy” art world, yet a devotion to their respective crafts has produced works of remarkable quality.
They are dead serious about their practice, and it shows.
Where many contemporary artists continuously attempt to bend rules and provoke audiences with shock, candid introspection, or socially-aware subject matter, Oil & Wax’s works will demonstrate the painters’ mutual respect for the seriousness in which the old Masters approached art-making, shared by the philosophically driven, anarchic rebel painters of New York’s golden age of Abstract art.
“The ground’s been broken now,” says Keith about his own flat, hard edged abstract style, which echoes that of a de Kooning or Kline, where Christian’s floating colourfields recall a combination of Rothko and Frankenthaler.
In addition to gracing the walls of some of the most distinguished homes and galleries both here and abroad, both artists’ works display in public collections, including those of Manitoba Hydro, TD Canada Trust, and local upscale dining establishments.
Oil & Wax’s opening with the launch of Zephaniah Gallery will set up Worthington’s intent for his space:
“What Christian is doing is taking advantage of what we have in the city, and what he has, and filling a void,” says Wood of the lack of commercial galleries in Winnipeg.
“This is a nice environment, and it’s not heavily commercial, or heavily publicized.”
Zephaniah Gallery is located at 3-374 Donald Street. Oil & Wax will open April 14th at 7:30 with a public reception. Refreshments will be served.
Sleek and modern, furnished in tasteful vintage, the space is clean and lofty, the old tiled floors scraped and buffed, with large, luminescent abstract paintings by resident artist Christian Worthington floating about the fresh white walls.