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Bach in Arts

Memo-1635

Type:

Bach Painting

Title:

Aria no 1 - Liliane Kulainn

Description:

From the series: The Goldberg Variations
Oil and acrylic on canvas

April 2007 - Jean Charles - The Bach Variations

From April 5 to April 29, 2007, Craig Scott Gallery mounts an exhibition of works by Jean Charles entitled The Bach Variations.
The works in the show have emerged through a series of dialogues. There is first of all the dialogue between two individual artists whose alter ego is “Jean Charles.” Jean Charles is the nom d’artiste for the spousal collaboration of classically trained painter, Jean Miller- Harding, and Kent Harding, a self-taught artist whose own work is created as Charles Kent.
The second dialogue is between the artist and J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The third dialogue is between the artist and the characters in The Goldberg Variations, the first novel by Nancy Huston, whose writings have made her a literary icon in her adopted France and one of the world’s most respected authors. In her native Canada, Huston has been awarded the Governor General’s Award for Fiction (1993; for Cantique des plaines), the Order of Canada (2005), and three honourary doctorates.
Note that only some of the many literary prizes for which she has been shortlisted or that she has won are found in the foregoing entry. Most recently, Huston won the 2006 Prix Femina for Lignes de faille.
The following is Huston’s own formulation of the premise of The Goldberg Variations for Signature Editions: "Suppose you invite thirty people to your home, people whom you love or have loved, to listen to you perform Bach's Goldberg Variations. And say that this concert unfolds like a midsummer night's dream, that is, you, Liliane, succeed in vibrating thirty people like so many variations, each at a different tune—you must oscillate between memory and speculation; you must, above all, master your fears—maybe then, all these fragments of music would dance into the same stream, and that you would call The Goldberg Variations, a novel."
Combining the musicality of Charles Kent’s abstract work and Jean Miller-Harding’s mastery of figurative painting, the works in The Bach Variations exhibition draw energy from the genius of both Bach’s music and Huston’s fiction.

Measures:

* Size (inches): 60 x 40

Creator:

Artists: Jean Charles
Year created: 2006

Buy item at:

See Source/Links below.

Comments:

About the artists:
“Jean Charles” is the nom d’artiste for the spousal art collaboration of an established and highly regarded figurative painter, Jean Miller Harding, and her husband, Kent Harding (who paints as Charles Kent, an emerging artist who has had early success with his own work. The couple known collectively as Jean Charles spends half the year painting in France and the other half painting in Canada. The pseudonym, “Jean Charles”, reflects both a linguistic and gender ambiguity that helps animate the canvases the couple produces together.
The collaboration that became Jean Charles arose unintentionally and resulted in the first two works to the left, “Blue Dancer” and “Alienated.” The male side of Jean had reached a near-final stage of an abstract work that the female side of Jean found herself inexplicably drawn to, over and over again, until she finally asked male Jean if she could paint on his work. A figure emerged from the interstices of the pure abstraction, and thus was born “Blue Dancer.” “Alienated” shortly followed. These works, combining a musicality of colour and texture with a mastery of the human form, represent the only collaborative works done by Jean Charles prior to Charles’ inaugural show in April 2007. “Blue Dancer” is available for viewing at Craig Scott Gallery.
From April 5 to April 29, 2007 Craig Scott Gallery mounted an exhibition of works by Jean Charles entitled The Bach Variations. Most paintings are produced in the following stages. The male Jean begins by painting the background, thereby generating the overall atmospherics of the painting and setting the tone for the continuation of the work. He does this while listening to the relevant variation of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” BWV 988 (Glenn Gould interpretations, 1956 and 1981) – and also while keeping in mind the character/s corresponding to each variation created by Nancy Huston in her first novel, The Goldberg Variations (1981). Next, the female Jean then interprets the budding canvas in a three-way dialogue with the male Jean’s painting, the Huston novel, and Bach’s music. She layers in the figurative elements of the work, being both constrained and liberated by the setting already prepared for her by her collaborator. Finally, Jean Charles decides if s/he must continue the process in order to pull the overall work together. To the left are a dozen examples amongst the approximately 30 paintings that were exhibited in The Bach Variations.

Biography of Jean Miller Harding:
Jean Miller Harding is a Canadian artist born into an artistic family in the Niagara region of Ontario. Besides the love of art, there was an intense interest in the form and functioning of the human body. After receiving an undergraduate degree in science and fine art history, specializing in the European masters of the Renaissance, she entered the Faculty of Medicine programme in Medical Art at the University of Toronto, graduating with honours and receiving the highest award for her artwork.
A successful career as a freelance commercial medical illustrator in North America began, and continued for the next 15 years. During that time, Jean illustrated over 400 magazine covers, worked with National Geographic on a hard cover book called The Incredible Machine, and helped produce many advertising campaigns for the pharmaceutical industry, some of which have won international awards.
During her time as a medical illustrator, Jean also studied portraiture with John Howard Sanden at the Portrait Institute in New York City and classical realism in Florence Italy with Maestro Michael John Angel who was a student of Pietro Annigoni. In 1988, she received her first commission to paint a portrait and a successful career as a portrait artist was launched. In 1994, Jean was asked to participate in an art show in Jakarta, Indonesia, sponsored by the Canadian Embassy and this prompted the beginning of work in figurative and still life fine art. At the present time, she has studios in Canada and France.

Biography of Kent Harding, a.k.a. C.Kent:
Charles (“C.”) Kent began painting after many years deeply appreciating art in its many forms and gradually absorbing the lessons of the masters. In quick order, he has refined his own distinctive mode of expression, and emerged as a tantalizing exponent of abstract colour and form. His work benefits from his years as one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs in the printing industry, including in the fields of graphic art and design. On the one hand, there is the diligence and discipline necessary to seeing a concept or related series to completion. On the other hand, the advances he brought to Canadian lithography with respect to colour reproduction helped in the development of the keen eye of a gifted colourist. Charles’ abstracts are at once enigmatic and decidedly evocative, an assault on the senses that is almost embarrassingly sensual. He sees colour “as a glorious personification to be seduced” and he speaks of the primeval powers of pigment.” In his work, he grapples with “the ageless yin and yang between the tension to control and the freedom to express.”
C. Kent’s work has begun to attract a following of serious private collectors in locations as disparate as the United Kingdom (London, Brighton), France (St. Tropez, St Maxime, Marseille), Canada (Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver), the United States (New York, Los Angeles, Hilton Head, Houston,Providence), and the Far East and Oceania (Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong). He has most recently shown in the Toronto International Art Fair in Toronto as well as shows in London, Atlanta, and Provence.

Source/Links: Craig Scott Gallery
Contributor:
Aryeh Oron (August 2008)

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