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Brendan Schick walks you through his exhibition, Still-Lives and Self-Portraits

Paul Bogdan
A&C Editor

Some artists get uncomfortable talking about their work. Thankfully, Brendan Schick was more than happy to walk the Carillon through his exhibit, Still-Lives and Self-Portraits, and talk about his work. The exhibition runs until March 22 at the Fifth Parallel Gallery in Riddell Centre.

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Photo 1: “The idea of the show was to have all of my self-portraits and still-life work because I felt they were similar, and I also felt that those are some of the predominant assignments and projects you get when you start the visual arts program.”

Photo 2: “These start out when I started in the winter of 2007, and they’re just really basic traditional assignments focusing on shape and shading and all that stuff … you get told what to do, and there’s not a whole lot of creativity involved. You can do a little bit, there’s a little bit of wiggle room, but mostly they want to see you’re developing certain skills or understanding certain concepts, which is really important to me.”

Photo 3: “We had to do a photo-realism still-life of some objects that we set up and took a picture of. That was fun, super time consuming. I like photo-realism, but I sort of realized it takes a lot out of you, and it feels pointless. I often felt like, ‘Ugh, this is just stupid,’ but I loved it too.”

Photo 4: “We had to do a scene of a person based on something from a famous painting or something like that. I can’t even remember. I hate that painting. I included it because it’s a self-portrait, and to me, self-portraits are about doing something that may be a bit humiliating and accepting that you’re not perfect and you’re going to make mistakes. I think that’s a healthy thing to acknowledge. I put it up, but I don’t like it.”

Photo 5: “They need people to sit in the gallery so people can come and visit, and I’m so busy with all my classes, especially studio classes because they require so much time, and I thought I’d just move my studio in here. That way, I can work on my stuff, and people can come in, and they can also get a sense of how I work because whenever I’ve really appreciated an artist’s work, not always, but when I can talk to the person and understand their process, it helps me respect work that I might not initially appreciate.”

Photo 6: “That [right] was the first one I did in the series, and that was the one that I figured out what I wanted to do and tapped into an idea that I could really work on a lot that was interesting to me. So, interest in optical illusions and optical illusions in relation to how I perceive what I am or who I am or where my self-expression is coming from and comparing the belief of self with the action of self, like what a person thinks they are versus how they behave in the world. There are some really slippery contradictions there, to me, that I enjoy exploring.”

Photo 7: “It’s similar to doing the self-portraits. It’s a bit humiliating, and it’s about admitting things that may be you don’t want to admit or acknowledging that you’re not as certain as you behave when you really look at what makes up what you are.”

Photos by Tenielle Bogdan

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