ARTIST INTRODUCTION: ROBERT STRICKLAND
Robert Strickland was born in 1988 in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Strickland’s formal fine art education began at Sheridan College, where he immersed himself in painting, colour theory, draftsmanship, and design, all of which have become the foundation of his art. He furthered his education by receiving the Chalmers professional development Grant from the Ontario Arts council, this allowed him mentorship with revered artists in the United States.
With a keen eye for observation, Strickland from a young age always nurtured a deep curiosity for his surroundings that have defined his art. Painting alla prima (usually from life and in the moment) allowed Strickland to study his surroundings intimately and fed his curiosity. Being out in nature allowed him to discern subtleties in light and colour while he articulated it with paint. His family had a cottage near Algonquin Park which allowed him to explore the area more frequently and paint outdoors. Robert was inspired by artists like Tom Thomson, who immersed themselves in nature and developed their language in the Canadian landscape. As Robert grew older and spent more time within the city his language developed to articulate changing social dynamics and the urban landscape. His curiosity continued with his fascination with people. What are their lives like? What are their beliefs and values? What led to this moment? Robert pays homage to rich traditions while forging new conversations in contemporary art.
Strickland is part of a novo realist movement that rebels against the technological and mechanical world as well the art world dominated by modern and postmodernism. Unlike the mechanical process of a camera the painter interprets their empirical reality and projects it through their imagination, this is the human element of storytelling. It is a civilization long combined experience and practise in understanding the visual world, communicating, knowledge and spirit. He believes there are values associated with beauty, language and nature. Realism and impressionism have been misunderstood as a mimic art but in the right hands it can be a highly creative force in the way stories are told.