Ian Bateson's Skull & Bones at the Federation of Canadian ArtistsWednesday, November 26, 2014
Last Thursday I went to the opening of a show, of digital imagery at the Federation of Canadian Artists on the corner of Cartwright Street (where it points to the Granville Island Hotel) on Granville Island.
This gallery in the past has been a showcase of the more conventional medium of oil so its one-year-at- the job Executive Director, Dutch-born Patrick Meyer is taking a chance on a show that is all digital work.
Digital art in Vancouver seems to be less considered than in other places of the world. Perhaps we are simply a tradition-bound city of conservatives.
|Skull # 20 - Ian Bateson|
I was at the opening because this group show included three works by my friend (since 1977) Ian Bateson. Like many of us who started with magazines (he as an illustrator and yours truly as a photographer) Bateson has had to pivot quickly on one foot to change courses as the industry changed. From being a stupendous editorial illustrator he did comic book work, books for Douglas & McIntyre that were beautiful textbooks on different cultures around the world and within Canada as his book on the Athabasca. From designing books Bateson launched himself into a design cooperative called Baseline and only recently was it dissolved. Now Bateson has his own design firm, some of which specialized on things NDP, school boards and unions.
|Skull # 1 - Ian Bateson|
The work that Bateson has at the Federation of Canadian Artists is a real eye-opener as the only information given (as it is with most of the works on display) is digital print. I do know that Bateson’s pieces begin as photographs taken with his iPad. He has taken pictures of skulls in various museums around the world, Venice, NY City, Alaska. Then using a technique pioneered by British artist David Hockney (the app that Bateson uses is called Procreate) he devolves and adapts to his own purposes.
What is particularly interesting about Bateson’s adoption of the digital image is that from the first time that I met him back in 1978 he was a brilliant illustrator particularly one using minuscule and plentiful black dots. He was also adept with the air brush. But I do remember that both he and Chris Dahl were early adopters of the Mac when it first came out. Both mastered the first version of Photoshop when it was introduced.
Bateson has told me that he paints and draws still (and now) but at the moment he is taking this digital technique forward and perhaps with the Federation Artists there will be a new two-way avenue of art that is still misunderstood in our city.