Charles Bierk: As You Are, We Are

April 6 - 29, 2017

Opening reception: Thursday, April 6, 6 - 8 PM

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Charles Bierk. The exhibition will open on April 6th and run until April 29th with an opening reception on Thursday, April 6th. This is Bierk’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

For the last six years, Charles Bierk has focused his painting practice on large-scale, black and white portraits of friends and acquaintances from his generation.  He is known for his photorealistic style that highlights every line, freckle and hair follicle. Working square by square, left to right and top to bottom, Bierk treats each section like a tiny abstract painting. At the same time, he remains deeply aware of and connected to his subjects who he photographs with a full frame camera at his studio. The level of engagement between artist and subject is crucial for Bierk as it determines whether or not he will commit to painting their portrait over a 6 to 8 week period.

In looking over Bierk’s oeuvre, he has set forth an ongoing investigation into the voices and faces of the ‘here and now’, documenting his community in Toronto aged 25 to 35 who are working in arts and culture. He and his subjects share a similar experience based on age, place and purpose. In his latest body of work, Bierk’s portraits possess a quiet confidence and self-awareness, only revealing a hint of an expression that offers a glimpse into their psyches while at the same time, retaining our intrigue. The detail and depth in his recent portraits is more developed and convincing than ever before. Upon very close inspection, Bierk’s studio windows or a subject’s own glasses can be seen reflected in their irises.

In addition to his portraits are smaller paintings of intertwining hands as well as cropped compositions of a male and female body. Next to the face, Bierk considers hands to be the most expressive and unique part of the body. Whereas the strength of his portraits is their scale and intensity, their gazes often directed back at the viewer, the Hands and Touch paintings rely on intimacy, subtlety and specific qualities of light.  Bierk’s body paintings are his most abstract works to date, the subject almost indeterminable. It is a new direction and evidence that Bierk is challenging his technique so that it continues to develop and amaze.