Charles Meanwell: Cape Pine

April 2 - 25, 2020
Please contact us at (416) 205-9000 or by email, if you would like to get in touch about this exhibition. An extensive online exhibition is available in the Viewing Room.
I have made several trips to Newfoundland since 1968, the first was as a deckhand on a coastal freighter. My first morning aboard, I volunteered to be lowered over the side in a bosun’s chair to untangle the anchor cables which had been twisted by an ebbing tide. It felt entirely normal, even in February.

There I learned that sea, rock, and sky fiercely claim their place with a strength that is no stronger than the cheerful and matter-of-fact response the people have for harsh terrain and sudden death. All this was new.
Decades later, I visited Cape Pine on the southern tip of Newfoundland. It is a featureless plain of random, scrambled colour, supported here and there by angled shapes that could have passed as cliffs. In the land I felt a lack of meaning, purpose, and no definition but itself. 'Barrens’ is the name for this, because there is really nothing there. But I felt perfectly placed, and free to paint just colours, without regard to things we have a name for, like trees, and streets, and urban junk.

In a painting, it is the colours and the shapes that rule.
- Charles Meanwell