“It’s not so much what you depict but how you depict it.”
The Canadian artist Paul Fenniak takes the inspiration for his paintings from movies, books and newspaper stories which he re-interprets as imagined narrative portraits that explore overlapping realities.
As he explained in a Laguna College of Art + Design lecture it is imperative “that you can keep a space open for the intimate and personal in this mass media dominated world.”
In his dream like pictures, Fenniak paints in a realistic style imbued with symbolic meaning.
As he has said “one needs to balance realism’s wealth of experience and symbolism’s depth of feeling – you have to look in two directions at once.”
With Bachelor of Fine Art from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Master’s from
Concordia University in Montreal, Fenniak contends that “Art can make you feel less alone… Increasingly it struck me that painting of this kind had a particular capacity for creating an intimate encounter of a kind that lent itself to exploring the mystery of another person and thereby enhancing empathy.”
As New York’s Forum Gallery says about his work “Fenniak’s paintings have luminous surfaces and compelling images that offer a combination of disquiet, uncertainty, urgency, calm, and spirituality. His painting style contains a contrast of inner light with his attention to detail, texture and atmosphere.”
In his complex narratives, Fenniak combines autobiography, dreams, art historical references and the implications of contemporary life to explore the hidden recesses of the human psyche.
And about which he freely admits he is “Sacrificing the documentary realism of external fact to get to an emotional truth.”
Fenniak’s current exhibition of New Paintings is on show at New York’s Forum Gallery until the 19th of March.