Brian Harvey: Drift
October 8th to 30th – Opening Reception Friday October 15th from 5 – 8pm
Returning once again for another solo exhibition, Toronto based oil painter Brian Harvey brings new work to the walls of Abbozzo Gallery in his show “Drift”. Painting in his distinct gestural style, Harvey manages to still deliver a high amount of realism through large, colourful brushstrokes and almost exclusively depicts the local iconography of Toronto. Rejecting stereotypical cityscapes of Toronto, Harvey paints images that are much more familiar and commonplace to the Torontonian such as the back alleys, corner stores, and local diners we frequent.
Brian Harvey is most comfortable portraying the ephemeral; he often focuses on specific moments and times of day that feel rare and fleeting. Harvey’s effective surrender to the cityscape, and his acknowledgement that he himself is a part of the city’s social reality, gives him the ability to portray these fleeting moments while maintaining the same distance a documentarian would keep from their subjects. Harvey’s powerful use of colour is the voice that highlights and aggrandizes even the most mundane details of city life, be it the burgundy colours comprising a grimy streetcar (Logan and Gerrard, 2019), or the cheerful yellow lights that illuminate a seemingly unremarkable alleyway (South of Gerrard, 2019). Harvey’s technique lends importance to the forgotten and overlooked parts of the city, endowing them with beauty comparable to some of Toronto’s most well-known and iconic landmarks. His art broadcasts to the world the momentary qualities of the modern city, linking him to the rich traditions of the Impressionists and the American Realists, which have so vibrantly and successfully captured modernity in a similar style and subject matter as Harvey does today.