Charles Bierk: Solo Exhibition

November 13 - December 13, 2014

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 13, 6 – 8 PM

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with Charles Bierk. The exhibition features eleven paintings from Bierk’s Portrait series made over the last year. The exhibition will open on November 13 and will be on view through December 13 with a reception for the artist on Thursday, November 13 from 6– 8 PM.

After studying at OCAD University in Toronto between 2007 and 2011, Charles Bierk has quickly emerged as one of Canada’s most exciting young talents. For the last five years Bierk has painted large-scale portraits of family, friends and acquaintances with astonishing photographic likeness and hyper-realistic detail. Restricting his palette to black and white, Bierk exaggerates contrast and accentuates every line, freckle, hair follicle and other unique characteristics.

In this exhibition, Bierk expands on the frontal perspective used in earlier works. His subjects are painted looking down, to side or from behind, implying a narrative or a particular emotion. The models are all similar in age to Bierk, now 27 years old. Isolating this demographic is an important part of Bierk’s practice - he regards each work as a self-portrait, documenting a specific moment in his subject’s life and consequently his own. Bierk plans to revisit the same subjects in several years to record the passage of time.

Bierk’s process begins with photographing the models “as they are” in his studio. In addition to a compelling photograph, Bierk looks for a psychological connection with the subject. Once an image is selected, Bierk works square by square, often taking up to six weeks to complete a large portrait. Scale is essential to the success of Bierk’s paintings. The abstraction created by the enlarged features takes away from the edge of photorealism and draws the viewer into the nuances of the painting and the psyche of his subject.

In 2013, Bierk completed a commission for the Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario. His work has been included in several exhibitions and was most recently on view in After at the Art Gallery of Peterborough for which a catalogue was published.