Reviews

“In the audacious paintings and  watercolours he has  done over the years he demonstrates that for him, subject and making are seamlessly linked… He has flawless judgment when it comes to knowing when to render clarity or confusion. His watercolours are superb, sometimes so controlled that they seem to take all the air out of the landscape and create an atmosphere of their own; at other times their sense  of colour is wild enough to be almost reckless.” 

A Review by Art Critic Robert Enright
Edward Epp: New Work – June 2001

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“Edward Epp doesn’t just paint watercolours, but the medium is so central to his practice that it affects his work in acrylic and oil. It’s part and parcel of his vision… As with Turner in his sketchbooks, drawing and washes interact in Epp’s paintings, but don’t exactly coincide: they gain unity through independence… Epp uses the medium to record immediate impressions on the spot. Exhaustively and often obliquely – from odd angles and viewpoints. And the spots he’s chosen have ranged widely. He’s painted from nature in Liberia, Botswana, across China, throughout the Canadian West, and this past summer in Italy and Israel. This practice has sharpened his eye and pared his art to its expressive essentials. “

“There’s no other painter like him. He’s one of my favorites.”

A Review by Art Critic Terry Fenton
Northern Spirit Art Exhibition, Oct 2004

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“Epp is a prolific painter. He often produces a number of paintings in a sitting, switching between mediums. Consequently, not only are there visual cross references between watercolour and acrylic paintings made on the same day, but also very similar compositions… They speak of the passion of an important artist from British Columbia’s Northwest and his commitment to his practice.”

A Review by George Harris
Curator, Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George
Of Northern Extraction, Solo Show, 2003

 


“This show presents a world that is more identifiably real than can be seen in photographs or strictly realistic paintings. However, the tension, and ultimately, irony in Epp’s show results from the fact the parts of the paintings that most accurately capture the world are often not even identifiable as people, objects or geographical features. Patterns form and then scatter, lines cut and shape, and colours bleed and blend in an
endless dialogue. This is the epicentre of the conversation from which Epp paints, and the place in the conversation where the viewer is invited to step in. “

-A Review by Art Critic Simon Thompson 

 


Full Reviews

A Review by Art Critic Terry Fenton
Northern Spirit Art Exhibition
Oct. 2004

“Edward Epp doesn’t just paint watercolours, but the medium is so central to his practice that it affects his work in acrylic and oil. It’s part and parcel of his vision. “

“His watercolours stem from the British watercolour tradition, one that began in the 18th Century and flourished in the Canadian West in the 20th. Walter Phillips, A. C. Leighton, Dorothy Knowles, Reta Cowley, and the late Toni Onley are distinguished Canadian practitioners. Yet, tradition apart, Epp’s paintings are like none of theirs. Although he was raised in Saskatoon and learned much from both Cowley and Knowles, for the past two decades he has developed a way of is own. His paintings may not have the “sparkle” that one tends to expect from the watercolour medium, but they present, in its stead, a warm saturation of color, laid against casual drawing in dusty charcoal. To my eyes the combination recalls watercolour sketches by the celebrated English master, J. M. W. Turner. As with Turner in his sketchbooks, drawing and washes interact in Epp’s paintings, but don’t exactly coincide: they gain unity through independence. “

“Like many watercolour painters from the past, Epp uses the medium to record immediate impressions on the spot. Exhaustively and often obliquely – from odd angles and viewpoints. And the spots he’s chosen have ranged widely. He’s painted from nature in Liberia, Botswana, across China, throughout the Canadian West, and this past summer in Italy and Israel . This practice has sharpened his eye and pared his art to its expressive essentials. “

“There’s no other painter like him. He’s one of my favorites.”


A Review by Art Critic Robert Enright
Edward Epp: New Work – June 2001

“Edward Epp knows a lot of things that I don’t know he knows.  But there are two things that he makes very clear:  he knows how to make a landscape painting, and he knows how to make a painting.  These are not the same thing and merely because you know how to do one, doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to do the other.  In the audacious paintings and watercolours he has done over the last two years he demonstrates, that for him, subject and making are seamlessly linked.”

“One of the ways you can see this commingling is to look at two paintings he has done of the same place, the Iles-du-Nord, Madelaine Islands.  In one version, the cliffs on the left hand side of the painting are realized in a red so aggressive that it looks like the aftermath of a messy accident: in another these same topographical forms are rendered in an explosive orange, swirled into shape as if he were impatiently cleaning the leftover pigment from a brush.  I write this without a hint of criticism;  Epp is such a skillful painted that what would be arbitrary and careless in someone else’s hands, becomes in his, evidence of a finely controlled painterliness.  All you have to do is compare the equilibrium he achieves by situating the red chaos of the cliffs against the turquoise and orange-tinted, meditative atmospherics of the sky and water.  He has flawless judgment when it comes to knowing when to render clarity or confusion.  The fishing-boats below the cliffs are stumbles of pigment, mostly white you think, until you realize that they look like someone has mixed together all the colours from gelati parlour.  They are improbably perfect.”

“Epp’s special gift is that he can make marks add up to made paintings.  “Lighthouse: Iles-de-la Madelaine” displays an abundance of pictorial incident and detail, but he constructs the paintings in such a way that these marks and gestures end up consolidating into form and structure.  The shoreline in this piece is a seductive wet slip of caramel and blue that insinuates itself into a calming suffusion of pale green and blue and tan.  What I am really getting at in all of this description is to say that Epp understands the shaping features of representation and abstraction, and can make works that occupy both terrains at the same time.   He was born, raised and educated in Saskatoon, a city that has a distinguished tradition of landscape paintings who have absorbed the lessons of colour abstraction.  In this way, he joins company with Dorothy Knowles, Greg Hardy and David Alexander.”

“He is also companionable with John Marin and Helen Frankenthaler.  His watercolours are superb, sometimes so controlled that they seem to take all the air our of the landscape and create an atmosphere of their own; at other times their sense of colour is wild enough to be almost reckless. In “Winter Day – Channel Near Prince Rupert” he has come up with an astonishing watercolour, a mesmerizing combination of the seen and the made, a landscape that is pure looking and a painting that is pure invention.  The lower section of the work is tightly drawn, the trees are black, smudgy lines, the shadowy water in the middle of the composition dark enough to be soot.  But the sky is a high arena of absorbed colour– a blue, a moody red running to black, and then another tone of blue, a slight blush of it, as if the sky were a touch embarrassed by its own display of beauty.   It forms itself together into a lyrical atmospheric funnel, that meanders down from the deeper blue staining of the work’s upper reaches, where it touches the top of a tree, in the way that Michelangelo’s Adam is moved into life by the finger of god.  These watercolours, god-inspired and hand-made, are a triumph.”