ArtHelix is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by the acclaimed artist, Jene Highstein. Made between 2008 and 2010, these drawings are part of the Cape Breton Drawings series that ArtHelix first presented in its inaugural exhibition in 2013.
Organized by artist and curator, Bonnie Rychlak, these drawings or watercolors on rice paper have obvious associations to landscapes with an immediacy of saturated color that bursts from the surface while the pigment is also clearly soaked deep into the paper, creating an ambiguity of density and weight on an almost ephemeral surface.
This selection of the Cape Breton Drawings exhibit an audacious yet soft and light use of color, horizontal eruptions that almost, but do not quite, establish narrative. The beauty of Highstein’s island surroundings on Cape Breton is illustrated as the drawings reveal the ability of nature to alter one’s consciousness.
As Highstein explained to Janet Goleas in an interview in 2013, his Cape Breton Drawings developed over time, more as collaboration with nature than as aesthetic observation. Highstein explained that he absorbed the natural world around him, intuiting it and recalling it in his mind’s eye when he retreated to the studio. He noted that in Chinese landscape painting, artists don’t paint on site — they absorb the landscape and carry it with them — painting it not only from memory but also from a psychic, or perhaps spiritual, connection.