Artist Q & A : Steven Nederveen

Steven Nederveen presenting “Ocean’s Crossing” at the Canadian Consulate in Reykjavik

1) It’s been a busy year for you so far. You recently had the honour of receiving a highly- regarded commission by the Canadian Ambassador for the Canadian Embassy in Reykjavik for Canada’s 150th Anniversary. How was your experience in Iceland?

    It was wonderful! The people are very warm and welcoming. The presentations went well and the audience was very keen on my latest work, the abstracts and the sculptures. I had a couple days to travel around and take in their unique landscapes. That was very inspiring. I highly recommend Iceland as a place to visit.

    2) One can’t help but observe your careful treatment of the elusive properties of cool, arctic light in your upcoming solo show, Nature Transforms. What is it about light that intrigues you?

    I've always been intrigued with the play of light on moving water or its refraction through objects. It has a strange hypnotic quality that enlivens my sense of wonder. Sometimes it puts me into a state of meditation that connects me to my soul, and that is usually followed by a deep sense of connection to the world around me.

    3) Emotional memory of place is a theme that you explore and delve deeply in throughout past and present bodies of work. How is this new series informed by your recent trip to Iceland? What was it about Iceland that inspired you to experiment with new materials?

    Iceland is a place of stark contrasts with its volcanic underbelly and glacier peaks, and soaring cliffs against black sand beaches. It's a memorable place with lots of distinct experiences but I focused mostly on the glaciers. Seeing giant slabs of ice drifting towards open ocean is really beautiful but also deeply worrying. With icebergs you're seeing ice that's been frozen for eons, marked with sediment deposits from years gone by. They led me to meditate on the expansiveness of nature and time, giving me a sense of awe and wonder. Seeing these singular white monoliths against the dark blue water inspired me to explore the theme of water and ice - it's transformative nature, our impact on it, and also the hypnotic beauty of ice with its transparent depths and sparkling refractions of light. 

    In my abstracts, I use an ice-like sheet of acrylic with fractures and clear pockets, to conceal and reveal, manmade markings (ink brushwork). The varying colours reflect the Nordic skies at various times of day or night. 

    Detailed shots of Iceberg 1

    The sculpture is a result of testing the boundaries of multiple layers of transparency. Through 24 painted sheets of acrylic, a fully 3 dimensional object is created. A stylized iceberg floats in a sea of colour. As the viewer walks around the piece, the iceberg changes from a unified image to a series of disjointed layers and back again to a unified image on the other side. 

    Also, Olafur Eliason is one of my favourite artists, he's Danish/Icelandic, and a bunch of his work is in Reykjavik. Seeing it first hand was incredibly inspiring and has single-handedly encouraged me to explore new methods and concepts in my work.

    4) How would you say your work has developed in the past few years and how do you see it evolving in the future?

    I've spent a lot of time depicting contemplative landscapes and trying to evoke a sense of wonder from nature. They are informed by my own experiences. I love this exploration and how it's developed so far.

    I plan to continue on this path while incorporating the viewer into the work more directly.  I can see how the sculptural pieces can lend themselves to large-scale site-specific works, possibly incorporated into architectural interiors. In my new multi-layered abstract pieces, viewers may be reflected in, or revealed and concealed by the various layers as they move around the piece. I hope that my work re-awakens in the viewer a similar experience that perhaps they've had in the past.

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    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Breaking Away

    Joshua Jensen-Nagle has been selected to be exhibited at the prestigious UK art fair, Photo London. Bau-Xi Gallery will exhibit his work as the only Canadian gallery represented at the fair. The artwork selection for Photo London includes iconic beach photos from Italy and Brazil, ski scenes shot in Whistler, and this stunning new image from Iceland 'Breaking Away' (shown above). Bau-Xi Gallery looks forward to the opportunity to present this talented Canadian artist to photography collectors in the UK.

    Photo London runs May 18-21, 2017 at Somerset House in London More about Photo London here


    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Ipanema II

    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, It's All There II

    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Washed Away



    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Heading Out

    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Sicily Bathers II

    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Hanauma Bay I

    Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Drifting Over The Italian Riviera


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    Drew Burnham artwork presented by Bau-Xi Gallery

    April 19, 2017, Toronto: Drew Burnham's entire show, which represents nearly 2 years' work for the artist, has sold out in only 8 minutes. Collectors eagerly waited for a preview email to be sent, and began calling immediately to purchase the paintings over the phone.



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    Figure painting, two ways

    So much more than its art historical tradition might suggest, contemporary figurative painting is exciting, varied, and experimental. Consider, for example, Erin Armstrong's 'From the Mangroves,' and Vicki Smith's 'The Romance of Water.' Armstrong's long brush strokes pull paint into mysterious forms that verge on portraiture but elude identification. Smith, similarly, renders her subject anonymously but with a deep familiarity for place and experience. These paintings offer representation with distinct contemporary treatments of colour and style, making them beautiful additions to any collection.

    Erin Armstrong artwork presented by Bau-Xi Gallery

    Erin Armstrong, From the Mangroves, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 52 x 60 inches. Click to acquire.


    Vicki Smith artwork presented by Bau-Xi Gallery

    Vicki Smith, The Romance of Water, 2017, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches. Click to acquire.

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    Curator's Selection: The Constructed Landscape

    The Curator's Selection for April features work inspired by our built surroundings. Feats of engineering, technology and urban planning have allowed us to turn the city into a subject that is as architecturally beautiful as it is functional. The six artists featured in our selection utilize imaginative perspectives to showcase the constructed landscape and its potential to inspire exciting visions for the future.

    A heightened perspective demonstrated in the aerial photography of Jeffrey Milstein lets us see the unseen patterns that buildings, streets and green spaces make when smartly conceived by our urban planners. Looking up at, down on, and through the iconic architecture of Toronto and New York allows Chris Temple to paint the city with rich colour and feeling. And from a removed distance, Ferit Kuyas' lens captures both the grace and pollution of the gritty megalopolis of Chongqing, China.

    Getting up close to the textured and varied surfaces of the city offer an opportunity to see ordinary architectural elements with new eyes. The flattening of the recognizable pitch, tiles and chimneys of the buildings in Michael Wolf's "Paris Rooftop" series renders the Haussmannian architecture as an abstract composition composed of shapes and lines. Rustication, debris and residue characteristic to the facades of West Coast industrial buildings become a rich palette of texture and colour in Anthony Redpath's high resolution photographs. By manipulating the context in which we see the ephemera of everyday and by protracting our interaction with it in his "Wandering" series, Chris Shepherd finds a way to engage and build relationship with the sometimes alienating space of bustling downtown Toronto. 


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    Drew Burnham discusses his upcoming exhibition

    DREW BURNHAM | Nature's Conduit
    340 Dundas St. West, Toronto
    April 22 - May 5, 2017

    We are happy to share a glimpse of Drew Burnham's studio as he prepares for his upcoming exhibition in Toronto. Drew has been working for the past 12 months to complete this show which will be unveiled in a presale prior to the show's official opening on April 22nd. Drew Burnham has experienced sold-out shows for over 10 years.

    About his work, Burnham states:

    "For the last 8 years or so, and a few periods in the past, the paintings and I have an unbalanced understanding.  It requires that I get there in front of the canvas and there, get rid of the world and my mind and leave behind a clean conduit.  Then...if I even become conscious at all, I am a rock, a barnacle, a tree bough, moss,or some abstract who-knows-what, being transferred to the canvas by my brush hand...there is only a steady stream of laying in strokes, colours, shapes, decisively placed and guided by a source, secretive and remote.  It is that source which has “granted” me the right to be its conduit, and which requires that I be worthy...It is extremely exciting to get to watch the image come up with that which my own human facilities never could."

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    Steven Nederveen Awarded Commission for the Canadian Consulate in Iceland

    Image: Steven Nederveen, 'Ocean Crossing'. Commission for the Canadian Embassy in Iceland created as part of Canada's 150th Anniversary.

    As part of Canada's 150th Anniversary, Steven Nederveen has been awarded a commission by the Ambassador of Canada to Iceland to create a unique painting for the Canadian Embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland. In the commissioned painting, Nederveen uses the subject of an ocean wave as a metaphor for cultural exchange between Canadians and the Icelandic people. Titled "Ocean Crossing," the work references the passion for travel, unity, and nature shared between the peoples of our two nations. 

    Follow the journey of this painting over the next few weeks on Instagram (@bauxigallery) as we track the progress of the commission from creation in the artist's studio in Toronto to its presentation by Nederveen at its permanent home in the Canadian Embassy in Reykjavik.

    Our congratulations to Steven Nederveen on this exceptional honour!


    Steven Nederveen's upcoming exhibition runs May 6 -20 at Bau-Xi Vancouver 



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    The Curator's Selection for March examines the relationship between the face and the body in figurative painting. Art historians have long noted the way in which artists' depiction of the face or body can convey complex feelings around relationships, status and the physiological well being of their subject. The six artists featured in our selection use the face or the body to demonstrate the impact of interior complex and exterior setting in figuring the sitter.

    In looking at portraiture, we see the way in which the face can shed light onto the psyche of the subject.  The exaggerated features and impassioned expressions captured by Jill Greenberg's lens offer insight into the physiognomy of her children and animal subjects. Whether piercing, still, calm, or fraught with suspicion, the gaze of the sitters in Shaun Downey's portraits convey the emotional state of each subject. Erin Armstrong reverses the traditional subjectivity of portraiture by insisting on imaginary anonymity. The onlooker “sees” in her paintings a familiar form upon which they can inscribe their own meaning and identity.

    The body, adorned and in a formed in a distinct pose, has the ability of suggesting internal emotion within social and cultural settings. The graceful movement of the body, submerged under water in Barbara Cole's Falling Through Time series, communicates distinct emotions of fear, adventure or joy of a female figure in English country manor. The interaction of faceless figures in Katrin Korfmann's aerial photographs emphasize gesticulation and movement appropriate to the cultural happening or setting in which they're placed. Lastly, the soft focus figures in Virginia Mak's Character Reference series uses pose, costume, and setting to evoke the spirit of well known fictional characters.


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    Photo by Sarah Jane Photography



    1)      Describe your perfect day at the studio—what are your ideal conditions for creativity?

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi delivered a wonderful Ted talk on “flow.” I have sought out theories and discussions on similar topics, because for me to do my best work I believe that I have to reach a place where the subconscious takes over, or at least takes the helm. I have been lucky in that I have never found myself short of inspiration, and so undisturbed time is my biggest challenge. Finding stretches of it where I can start to unfold my ideas and inspiration, and then gradually let go of everything but the act...

    (Click here to watch the Ted Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)


    2)       Your latest exhibition is called ‘Stage.’ This word has such a history, and rich connotations. What about the concept of the stage resonates with your practice?

    Constructing tension between a perception of a physical place, and the awareness of the mediums and their application is an ongoing quest for me. Setting a stage to reveal an emotional experience: mine, in my absorbing and retelling of an inspiration, and the viewer’s experience, in the way that they view the “set” through their own filters. Interrupting our willingness to accept illusions of perspective with marks that so obviously live on a two dimensional surface. It seems theatrical in a way. A stage. A story.


    Painting detail


    3)       This new work demonstrates some new palettes for you—are there particular pigments or contrasts that are exciting you these days?

    Pink is such a loaded colour. This could be a long answer I think! I will keep it short though. I have avoided it in the past, but I have pulled it out lately and have been appreciating the emotional response that I now have to it.



    4)      What about the motif of the birch tree in particular inspires you?  Are there other naturally occurring forms that lend themselves well to paint?

    I am drawn to patterns and textures that occur in nature, and birch trees are such a fabulous place to find both. The graphic black and white of the trees allows for endless flexibility and interest when partnered with other pigments. They are a perfect starting point for explorations in mediums and their application. They are represented within the pieces while at the same time generously accepting of abstraction. Birches, grasses, and many other tree forms allow me to tell a tale of found beauty--of human perception, as well as of paint.




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    MICHAEL WOLF | CITY: Michael Wolf Showcase

    Michael Wolf Collection

    MICHAEL WOLF | CITY: Michael Wolf Showcase

    350 Dundas St. W, Toronto
    March 4 - 18, 2017

    On display at Bau-Xi Photo, view a selection of works from Michael Wolf's Tokyo Compression, Architecture of Density, Transparent City, and Paris Rooftops series. From the intimate to the alienating, this exhibition captures the nature of urban experience across four cities: Tokyo, Hong Kong, Chicago, and Paris.

    Tokyo's claustrophobic subway systems reveal the conditions of the city’s population, and document rapidly expanding urban-industrial centers. Foregrounded views of Hong Kong, Chicago, and Paris skylines magnify perspective and present the cityscape in rhythmic layers of architecture, history, and human intervention. Together, works from each series show Wolf’s commitment to documenting the city as a space we both inhabit and behold.



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    1) How would you describe your work ?

    Messy, drippy, oozy, sketchy, colourful, full.

    2) What are you most excited about in this current body of work and what are you striving to achieve that would set it apart from previous ones ?

    I love working big and loose. These are my wildest paintings yet and I'm enjoying using big house painting brushes.  I want to convey the feeling of being inside a lush, unkempt garden. From up close I hope the paintings just look like paint marks and from far away I want them to create a depth people can climb into. 

    3) Most adored colour in your tool box ? Most hated ? Most challenging ?

    Currently Perylene Red, a transparent hue somewhere between cherry tomato and the inside of a pomegranate is my favourite colour. Powerful and even harsh, staining colours like Thalo Blue and Green and Quinacridone Violet can take over and ruin a painting or, with a little of their compliment added can create exquisite blacks and greys.

    4) As an artist who is also a writer, how do you feel your writing informs your painting and vice versa ?

    I'd say writing and painting are about being moved by an experience and conveying that sensation to the viewer/reader in a unique and personal way.  Both mediums teach me that if I don’t have a clue how to start, I just have to do something - Anything.

     5) Besides living in Vancouver you also live part of the year in Umbria. Is there a difference in approach, materials, or subject matter when painting while immersed in these 2 distinctly different cultures and climates? 

    The light in Italy is so beautiful and warm and so many gorgeous still life objects are available in the countryside and the markets.  Artichokes come with their leaves on them and I can pick branches of pomegranates.
    I paint in my bedroom and pretty much have to make work that will fit under my arm and through the luggage scanner unless I want to get into the whole shipping thing. I don't actually mind those constraints since they make it possible for me to concentrate on smaller works and think more about the craft of painting. I used to figure skate and skaters would spend hours doing what was called "school figures" or various permutations on the figure eight. Italy is where I do my school figures.

    I enjoy having lots of quiet time over there to think and get recharged to return to my busy city life and get to work in my big, well lit studio.

     6)  What would be a surprising fact for someone to discover about you ?

    That I just invested in a Cyr Wheel and plan to learn to use it. 

    7)  Which artists have had the most profound influence on your work ?

    Artists whose work I admire and look at lot are Matisse, Joan Mitchell, Manet, and Cy Twombly to name a few.  

    Just saw some wonderful paintings in New York by Elise Ansel, Katharina Grosse and Atta Kwami Thami all of whom use colours which will inspire me for a long time.

    8) Given the current political climate, what role do you think artists can play ?

    Since my work is not at all political I try to do what I think every thinking person should be doing right now which is stick up for what I believe in. Make noise.

     9) What word of advice would you give to an aspiring artist just starting out ? Or what piece of advice would you have wished you could have given to your younger artist self knowing what you know now?

     Being an artist is a scary and unpredictable career.  I would tell an aspiring artist to surround herself with other aspiring artists who believe making art is an important and worthy job.

     10) What are you plans after this show ?

     I already have an idea for some big new works which I hope will tide me though the postpartum time of having hung a show.  In April I’ll return to Italy.



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    We are happy to share a glimpse of Drew Burnham's studio as he prepares for his upcoming exhibition in Toronto. Drew has been working for the past 12 months to complete this show which will be unveiled in a presale prior to the show's official opening on April 22nd.

    Drew Burnham studio


    DREW BURNHAM | New Paintings
    340 Dundas St. West, Toronto
    April 22 - May 6, 2017




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