Steve Driscoll: What should have been familiar

April 2 - 30, 2022

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce What should have been familiar, an exhibition of new paintings and hand-painted lightboxes by Steve Driscoll. The exhibition will open on April 2nd and run until April 30th, with an opening day reception on Saturday, April 2nd. This is Driscoll's second solo exhibition at the gallery.


Steve Driscoll’s latest body of work is inspired by the specific qualities of light he encounters in the Canadian landscape where he hikes, canoes and camps. These locations include the Bruce Trail, Killarney, and Algonquin Park. Since 2009, Driscoll has used a custom mixture of urethane and oil pigments to create his colour-saturated compositions. He takes full advantage of the fluidity of his material in these paintings, which often mimics the movement of his subjects of water and wind-blown trees. With his luminous surfaces, intense colour and often large scale, Driscoll aims to inspire the same awe and wonder for the viewer that he experiences when immersed in nature.


With this technique, Driscoll has deftly combined improvised painterly actions, a post-Impressionistic colour palette, and a profound comprehension of contemporary technical and material innovation to produce a style and method that are uniquely his own.

Sara Angel, PhD, Founder and CEO of the Art Canada Institute


Performance and experimentation play a major role in Driscoll’s practice and his recent River Rising paintings, also represented in the exhibition, are a prime example. For these works, he sends GoPro cameras down rapid waters to record images he later uses as his subjects. The horizons are skewed, and the vantage point is from on or underneath the water. This loss of control over his subject matter is liberating for Driscoll and the resulting paintings convey the precise power and motion of water.   


In addition to the new landscapes and River Rising paintings, are a new series of hand-painted LED light boxes depicting scenes of the northern lights that radiate electric colour when backlit. The technology used in the lightboxes derives from his remarkable public art project, A light stolen from the sun, completed for CIBC SQUARE in downtown Toronto in 2021. Developed over five years, the commission is composed of twelve backlit glassworks located at the end of each elevator corridor, on two levels of the building. The tallest glassworks on the main floor extend vertically, up to almost forty feet. Both the hand-painted lightboxes and the CIBC SQUARE commission harmoniously combine Driscoll’s celebrated paintings of the Canadian landscape with his passion for utilizing industrial materials in new and inventive ways.