Brent Wadden Paintings Are Geometric Portraits Based In the Canadian Folk Tradition

Brent Wadden Paintings Are Geometric Portraits

Old Ghosts

Brent Wadden’s paintings are all about geometry, a layering of geometric abstractions that reveal more to you the closer you look, the more intently you gaze. As a Canadian artist brought up on a small island off the east coast of Canada Wadden’s influences came out of the indigenous traditions of that country as well as the tradition of symmetry in western art history:

I’m not directly referencing that, but I am really interested in aboriginal art and the totem poles on the west coast of Canada…the canvas is broken up into sections by a freehanded grid pattern. Then from there I draw diagonals, and then I break it up with the spheres, which make the portraits or the characters.

Although not obvious at first – Waddens paintings seem to be solely about colour and form – these pictures are most definitely portraits, each a particular character that has to pull itself out of the canvas to make itself known, seen beyond the geometrical shapes. As Wadden himself says;

Eventually the characters pull out of the pieces, for me each painting has a different mood even though I use the exact same structure for each painting. I’m just working within this grid pattern, but whether through color or technique something different comes out, each takes on a different identity, within the space when they’re hung, each of the characters are either looking at each other or looking away from each other. This is determined by the placement of an eye consisting of two black and white right-angled triangles placed back to back. If I removed these triangles or simply changed the colors, the characters would probably disappear entirely and the painting would become a pure abstraction.

I really love the paintings and hope you do too.