Contributed to The Morning Star
Herald Nix’s new paintings, titled The Long View, at Headbones Gallery form a musical rhythm of repeated motifs.
Like music, passages repeat, but our perception changes each time it’s heard, or in this case seen. For this series, Nix, who is also a musician, painted one view of Shuswap Lake over and over again, and as he noted, “it doesn’t change as much as your perception of it does each day.”
At Headbones Gallery, Nix’s small oil paintings on wooden panel line the long narrow gallery space. The same scene of the Shuswap repeats, yet with each image, shifts in weather, light, and mood are conveyed materially in thick or thin paint, bright colour or greys, deeply carved lines and scraped surfaces.
Walking through the gallery is like experiencing a year on the Shuswap as the days lengthen in spring, then a dark rain cloud moves overhead, only to clear into a hot, sunny August day.
The artist began each panel on a new day with its ensuing shift in perception affecting his methods.
In The Long View, Nix’s repetitions also reveal artistic growth and progress. Skill develops from controlled corrected repetitions of an act. Here it becomes clear that skill, whether facility with paint or music, is a product of practice and self-criticism.
We are allowed in to experience the artist approaching the topic anew, questioning and exploring with each panel and day.
Visitors familiar with the Shuswap will recognize and connect to the lake and landforms. These places are so familiar, yet with each day and year, we’re different people. Like the days, we have changed. Like the weather, we have altered.
A portion of this series travels back from Calgary’s Jarvis Hall Gallery, where Nix’s September 2016 exhibition received an enthusiastic welcome.
Nix is a visual artist and acclaimed musician born and raised in Salmon Arm. He began painting as a child and attended the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University) as a teen before also pursuing a career in music. His paintings have been exhibited across Canada and in the U.S.
Herald Nix: The Long View opens at Headbones Gallery, 6700 Old Kamloops Rd., Saturday, Dec. 10, with a reception from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition continues to Jan. 16.