Charles Meanwell: Cape Pine Revisited - Paintings and Poems

June 4 - July 9, 2022





Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce Cape Pine Revisited – Paintings and Poems, an exhibition of new paintings by Charles Meanwell. The exhibition will open on June 4th and run until July 9th, with an opening day reception on Saturday June 4th. This is Meanwell's sixth solo exhibition at the gallery and the first time we have shown his poems in relation to the paintings. 


Charles Meanwell first visited Newfoundland in 1968 as a deckhand on a coastal freighter. He was instantly struck by the raw elements of sea, rock and sky. Decades later when he returned to Cape Pine on the southern tip of the province, he was once again moved by the simplicity of the terrain which is locally referred to as The Barrens. While in Cape Pine, he made works on site that responded to the ‘featureless plains of random, scrambled colour’.


For the paintings in this exhibition, Meanwell referenced the digital photographs he had saved from his last trip to Cape Pine. Rather than printing them out, he prefers to look at them through the small display on the back of his camera. This method provides only the most essential information and complements his considered approach to painting that reduces landscape into colour and shape. Meanwell has also recently started painting on white instead of dark grounds, a change that originated with a series of watercolours in 2020. The white grounds infuse his minimal surfaces with a new sense of light and definition.


Accompanying the paintings is a series of poems by Meanwell. The poems were written in Newfoundland and Ontario and speak with the same minimal means as his paintings. Meanwell started painting and writing poetry in 1973, shortly after seeing a portrait by Barker Fairley. The two artists of different generations became friends who shared a similar vision for both painting and writing.


Poems are like paintings; they arrive unlooked for and arrive composed. There is no editing - paintings have frame to contain them, and poems have rhythm. 

Charles Meanwell