“I’m interested in light, shadow, volumetric forms and how together they create a moment many of us take for granted.”
Presenting recent paintings and releasing published book Vancouver: Surrounding Areas and Places That Inspire. The book has a collection of 120 paintings by renowned artist Ross Penhall that celebrates the identity and spirit of Vancouver. Also included are paintings of inspirational places across Canada, the US and Europe, including the California Coast, the Prairies and the Italian countryside. Ross Penhall’s Vancouver combines stunning imagery, tribute and personal history to create a portrait of the city through an artist’s eyes. Ross Penhall was born and raised in Vancouver, where he has had two separate and successful careers as a fire captain and now as an internationally recognized painter. Visitors and residents alike will look at Vancouver in a new way after they see it from Ross’ unique perspective. Whether it’s a row of hedges on the corner of someone’s yard or the cascading rocks at Spanish Banks, Ross finds endless inspiration in the city where he lives.
Nature as shaped and redefined by human hands is the focus of Ross Penhall’s captivating yet enigmatic paintings. His work depicts enchanting, manicured, urban landscapes – groomed lawns, shaped shrubbery, pruned trees – all arranged in eye- pleasing symmetry that speaks of a serene, orderly world.
Like the works of Canada’s famous Group of Seven (1920-31), whose members boldly broke from traditional European landscape painting to forge a style uniquely suited to their northern surroundings, Penhall’s forms are stylized, his colors saturated. His slight alteration of the landscape adds yet another layer to the man-nature dichotomy: rather than depicting a scene with rigid realism, he transforms it into something entirely new through an intricate process of visual editing. He is fascinated by the ways in which we bend nature to suit our needs--the paths we carve through it, the speed with which we traverse it, the manicured shapes we give it. Though he is intensely interested in the displacement of nature, the manmade objects in his work often end up enhancing the overall aesthetic effect.
Drawing upon the influences of such notable painters as Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O’Keefe, Grant Wood and Emily Carr, Penhall has taken his own turn enhancing the enhancements. He flattens, stylizes and simplifies forms, embellishes colors and exaggerates contrasts. The result is a make-believe, somewhat unreal landscape that although compelling, serves as a gentle reminder that nature is never static, and man’s imprint is transitory unless vigilantly maintained.