Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Vancouver artist BRIAN BOULTON captures singular moments of everyday life in his detailed depictions of anonymous subjects in public spaces. Based on digital photos, these solitary figures face away from the viewer and are removed from their urban environment. Torn and rumpled jeans, worn down shoes and the subtle difference in texture of fabrics work together to construct a portrait of these anonymous individuals. These details have been rendered delicately in graphite by the artist, who admits to a long-held fixation with people watching. Boulton sees his drawings as a neutral documentation of a subject which becomes a collaboration with the viewer as they participate by projecting both personality and history on the subjects.

Boulton has employed photography as a base for his drawings since his early teens. While many contemporary artists generate digital images as a final product, Boulton reverses this process by producing a physical analog image from the digital file. This process of manual reproduction assigns new significance to minute details; while the consequence of a knitted texture may be lost in a photograph, it gains new importance when rendered exactly by hand. Boulton’s painstakingly detailed and complex practice is further nuanced by the incorporation of an element of spontaneity. Unaware they are being photographed, the subjects assume uninhibited, natural and occasionally classic poses that lend the images a timeless quality which would otherwise be obfuscated by their contemporary clothing. Within these drawings, Boulton successfully communicates the sense of movement or stillness transmitted by the human body as it passes through three-dimensional space.

BRIAN BOULTON studied architectural rendering at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, BC, as well as Film and Art History at Langara College in Vancouver. He has been employed in the arts for over 30 years and has been involved in many artist-run centres and galleries. (winsor gallery)



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