Newfoundland’s Rugged Landscape Captured In An Abstract Symphony
April 21, 2005
Try the following two words out on the nearest artist and they will likely swoon, gasp, choke and grow instantly flush: Pouch Cove. It is the name of a small town on Newfoundland’s east coast, just 20 kilometers north of St. John’s. Its swoonability comes from the fact it is the site of one of Canada’s most coveted residency programs, the Pouch Cove Foundation, the very one that first introduced painter Harold Klunder to the beauty of Newfoundland.
“You put your feet up, throw all stress aside and you just have a good time.” Klunder once told The Telegram in St. John’s, explaining his Rock infatuation. Thanks to art dealers/book sellers James and Angela Baird, many artists have had the opportunity to make art in blissful, Newfoundlandish peace. Like many of the lucky ones, it didn’t take Klunder long to consider Pouch Cove his second home. ” It’s so overwhelming and beautiful,” explained Klunder. “It’s hard to look at the ocean and try to paint it.”
As one of Canada’s most prolific and respected painters, Harold Klunder has spent the past few years painting the ocean and the rest of the province’s rugged surroundings with his mighty brush. His latest series of large watercolours, now on display at Studio 21, are a testament to his love of the terrain. Works like Pouch Cove Return Visit, Early Light, Pouch Cove and Atlantic Light, the Sun at Noon are exquisite studies of the land, light, water and sky. On heay paper and sometimes as large as 4-by-3 feet, all of the works in the show were completed in the last six months.
Since he first started showing some three decades ago, Klunder has undergone several incarnations as an abstract painter. From his early abstract geometrics, to his heavy De Kooning-like affairs with paint, to his more recent studies that connect abstraction to the land and in particular the east coast, Klunder makes paintings that are symphonies, great masterworks of perfectly weighted color and form. Look at Colpoy’s Bay or Untitled Blue: no colour seems out of place, no brown is too murky, no light too vague.