Open: Tue-Sat 11am-5pm

11 & 25-28 Old Burlington Street, W1S 3AN, London, United Kingdom
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-5pm


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Sky Glabush: The Arrangement of Stars

Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Thu 20 Apr 2023 to Sat 20 May 2023

11 & 25-28 Old Burlington Street, W1S 3AN Sky Glabush: The Arrangement of Stars

Tue-Sat 11am-5pm

Artist: Sky Glabush

Private view: Wednesday 19 April, 6pm–8pm


Stephen Friedman Gallery presents its first solo exhibition by Sky Glabush, one of Canada’s leading mid-career artists.

Glabush’s practice subverts traditional painterly archetypes and presents landscape, still life and portraiture through an historic lens. Primarily figurative and often underpinned by abstraction, these large-scale, surreal paintings provide narratives as they shift in and out of focus.

The artist uses a rigorous drawing practice and his paintings exist as a meeting point for different ideas and approaches. “The architecture of the drawing is embedded in the materials,” Glabush says, “All the paintings have gone through this process of getting the structure up through the drawing, breaking it down and rebuilding it through colour.” The artist often mixes sand into paint to build texture and to erase but not conceal the labour in his work. This rich surface is a magnet on which bold pigments vibrate and infuse the artist’s works with a humming energy.

Curator and art critic Sarah Milroy describes Glabush’s investigation as an interpretation of “the legacies of art, expressing a special connection to the European traditions of Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke, in particular the work of Nolde, Kirchner, Munch, Kupka and Klee.” Milroy continues: “These historic works combine (in Glabush’s imagination) with some of the influences from his own lived experience, raised as he was in a variety of alternative, back-to-the-land communities on the west coast of British Columbia.”

Glabush’s paintings are mythical and romantic, yet bold lines provide a methodical and geometric approach to composition. In ‘Sar-Galú’ a mountain range rendered in intense shades of red, pink and orange is seemingly fragmented by light as the sun rises. In Glabush’s endearing portrait of the ‘Young Acrobat’ the artist channels Picasso as he transitions from the bohemian motifs of his Rose period into the geometric compositions and flattened picture planes of Cubism.

The diffused light emitted by the dark star-studded skies where Glabush lives enraptures the viewer in ‘Star-sown Sky’. In ‘Faery’, which obtains its title from WB Yeats’ poem ‘The Stolen Child’, the artist suggests that little spirits guide the viewer around the work. The images of flowers and birds, landscapes and skies are for Glabush “folktales retold, still capable of showing something of the real and imagined worlds we inhabit.”

Glabush lives and works in London, Ontario and is an Associate Professor of Visual Art at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. Born in Alert Bay, British Columbia in 1970, Glabush received his BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and his MA from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. The artist has had solo exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Clint Roenisch, Toronto, Ontario; Projet Pangée, Montreal, Québec and Prosjektrom Normanns, Stavanger, Norway. In 2020 his work was exhibited at National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
In 2024, Glabush will have a solo exhibition at Museum London, London, Ontario. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany; Acquavella, New York, Cordonhaus Städtische Galerie Museum, Cham, Germany; University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario; Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, Québec and Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario.

Sky Glabush, 'Sar-Galú', 2023. Oil and sand on canvas, 213.4 x 274.3cm (84 x 108in). Copyright Sky Glabush. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

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