John Kissick: A Nervous Decade

Tony Urquhart

John Kissick,
Re-mix #2, 2009, acrylic and oil on panel, 167.6 x 167.6 cm. Courtesy of Leo Kamen Gallery.

June 16 - Sept 5, 2010
Co-organized by the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in partnership
with the Kelowna Art Gallery.

Free Public Artist Talk and Catalouge Launch:
August 19, 7 p.m. All are welcome. > Learn more here.

"Putting Punk in Your Disco": A Q&A by Leah Sandals (August 10th, National Post)
"The Art of Nature": by Robert Reid (The Record, July 29th)
View the Exhbition Video> "John Kissick: A Nervous Decade" here.
Order>  Order the Extended DVD and the exhibition catalogue here.

Kissick's work has enjoyed acclaim over the past decade for its ongoing attempts to position itself in a viable, if highly critical, dialogue with the historical conventions of abstract painting. What Kissick does with such agility is weave the familiar (the supergraphics on 1960's civic architecture and contemporary popular music are just two examples) into a much more expansive conversation about circuitous quotation and the institutionalization of artistic processes. Cynicism and sentimentality (often associated with pastiche and contemporary abstraction respectively) are abandoned in favour of a knowing - and constantly evolving - body of work.

 A Nervous Decade brings together over twenty paintings on canvas and panel from public and private collections throughout Canada. Originally conceived as a mid-career survey, this exhibition traces Kissick's early exploration and re-assembly of an abstract expressionist lexicon, through to a current immersion in hybrid painting derived from tropes gleaned from popular culture. His focus on complicating the interpretive procedures at play in viewing painting has evolved into a current interest in sentiment in the supposedly raw experience of looking. A Nervous Decade is just a glimpse Kissick's intelligent and dynamic practice. 

About John Kissick
Trained as a painter and writer, John Kissick attended Queen's University at Kingston, Cornell University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Institute for Higher Education. He has held teaching and administrative appointments at Penn State University's School of Visual Arts and the Ontario College of Art & Design. His exhibition record includes numerous solo exhibitions in Canada and the United States and his work is in a number of important national public collections. In 2005, Kissick was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy for the Arts. He is currently the Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph and is represented by the Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto. 

John Kissick: A Nervous Decade will tour to the Kelowna Art Gallery (Kelowna, BC) and the Grande Prairie Art Gallery (Grand Prairie, AB) in 2011. A comprehensive catalogue featuring full-colour reproductions and essays by Roald Nasgaard, Liz Wylie and Jason Lahr will be published in concert with the exhibition.

Opening Reception: June 17, 7 p.m.> View the invitation here.

Media Available to Order

The John Kissick: A Nervous Decade extended version DVD is available for purchase via
email or in person. Exhibition Video (14 mins) and Full Version Artist Interview (62 mins) $15

Reserve your copy of the John Kissick: A Nervous Decade Catalogue via email or in person.
Expected delivery date: August 19,2010. A catalogue documenting a traveling, solo exhibition of works by Canadian painter, John Kissick. The catalogue features three distinct essays by Roald Nasgaard, Liz Wylie, and Jason Lahr. The exhibition will travel to the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Prairie Art Gallery, with possible additional tour dates to be confirmed. $35


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