For the last few years, Charles Bierk has focused on painting the everyday objects we display and keep around us. This body of work marks the next chapter following What Was Not Lost, an exhibition at the gallery in 2019 including small paintings of objects, arranged into grids. Known for his large, black and white portraits with intense gazes and arresting detail, these more recent works command our attention in a different way.
The scale of the individual object paintings is intimate, approximately life-sized, and they remind us of our own miscellaneous collections that often have sentimental attachment. The objects Bierk has painted in the exhibition including a candelabrum, a box of restaurant matches and a BIC lighter, belong to himself, a loved one or have been discovered and adopted. Just as Bierk accentuates every pore, freckle and hair follicle in his portraits, the wear on the objects is carefully documented and tells the story of a life lived.
I think the realization that I came to is that these objects that we use or hold onto or clip to our belt everyday can hold as much beauty as the much more ornate things. That's the fascinating way in which objects can hold so many memories and be tied so innately to people and to love and to life. - CHARLES BIERK
Charles Bierk was born in Peterborough and lives in Toronto. Bierk attended OCAD University and has since exhibited in Canada and the United States. In 2017, Bierk had a solo exhibition at the Grinnell College Museum of Art, Iowa for which a catalogue was published. Bierk’s paintings are included in many prominent collections internationally including Grinnell College Museum of Art and the Ivey School of Business at Western University in London, Ontario.
To watch a short film on Charles Bierk, click here.
To watch the exhibition walkthrough, click here.