“MONTI8 is excited to announce “Chronic Maintenance”, first solo show of the Canadian artist Owen Rival. The exhibition presents five new works, going from mid-size to large scale paintings, all depicting private domestic moments. Every scene represents the artist himself and his wife, caught in common acts like washing dishes or doing the laundry, as part of a daily routine, seen by the artist as a comfort zone”.
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Typically, I begin with a sketch that serves as a blueprint for the final piece and allows me to experiment with different compositions.
Once I have the sketch in place, I will stage the scene in real life and take reference photos with my wife. These photos serve as a guide for the painting and allow me to capture the subtle nuances of light, shadow, and texture that are present in the real world.
I’ll then draw the final image out and transfer it to the canvas. Once the drawing is on the canvas, I begin the painting process, working slowly and methodically to render out each individual form and color. This can be a time-consuming process, as I often layer multiple colors on top of each other to achieve a sense of depth and dimensionality. After each part of the painting is at the same level of finish the painting is complete.
Could you share with us some insights on your painting ‘Meds”, (2022)? Is there any particular story behind this new work?
“Meds” is a deeply personal painting that` reflects my own experiences with anxiety and medication. After being diagnosed with general anxiety, I was hesitant to start taking medication due to the stigma surrounding mental health in North America. However, once I started taking Lexapro, my life changed for the better. I felt less anxious and was able to function more normally in my daily life.
In creating this painting, I wanted to capture this journey and the sense of relief and hope that came with it. The figure in the painting is draped in cool green light, representing the lethargic and anxious state I often found myself in before seeking treatment. However, the warm and comforting glow of the medication suggests a sense of safety and reassurance. To me, the painting represents the transformative power of seeking help for mental health issues and the importance of overcoming the stigma that can often prevent people from doing so. Ultimately, ‘Meds’ is a tribute to the power of hope, healing, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Looking at your polychromatic paintings, it seems that you are applying a wide range of colours on your canvases. Which are the right conditions that lead you to choose the right colour combinations on each painting?
Choosing the right color combinations for my paintings is a critical part of my process, and one that I take very seriously. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to color selection, I generally try to choose colors that align with the mood or emotion I am trying to convey in the painting.
For example, if I am going for a sad or calming vibe, I may use cooler colors like blue, purple, and green to create a sense of serenity or melancholy. Conversely, if I want a more vibrant or intense image, I may opt for warmer colors like red, orange, and yellow to create a sense of energy and intensity.
However, the meanings behind colors can be fluid and subject to interpretation, and I often play with these meanings in my work to create a sense of contrast or irony. In my painting “Sleep”, for example, I use a striking blue light as the focal point of the image to create intensity, rather than a warmer color like orange. This inversion of traditional color associations adds depth and complexity to the painting, and allows me to convey multiple emotions or moods simultaneously. Overall, the process of selecting color combinations for my paintings is a highly intuitive one, and I rely on my instincts and artistic vision to guide me as I work.
Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you always come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning?
I typically plan my paintings out very thoroughly and do not leave much up to chance. However, there are times when the meaning or narrative of a painting can shift or evolve during the creative process. So while I may not intentionally create artworks through random experiments, there is still a degree of openness and flexibility in my approach to making art.
Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
There are many contemporary artists whose work I find inspiring and thought-provoking. For example, I have been drawn to the vivid and rich cinematography of Marcell Rev. I also admire the paintings of Vincent Valdez, whose detailed and heavy subject matter calls attention to systemic issues in America.
Which are your plans for the near future?
In the near future I hope to mix up my subject matter. I’m very interested in incorporating more surreal elements into my painting to further emphasize and explore human experiences. I also plan to continue developing my technical skills and experimenting with new techniques.
All images courtesy of the gallery