Jack Bishop, The Below Zero Hero, 2019 36×48″ oil and acrylic on birch panel
My current paintings are artificial business park landscapes. They are compiled with cars, gas stations, traffic lights and illuminated signs of ever-present big name retail outlets. Through this subject matter, I aim to engage the viewer into dense manifestations of contemporary life, car-culture, consumerism, and sprawl. The paintings portray colourful and busy landscapes but also present a dark realism, revisiting the Canadian landscape tradition in terms not of natural but of commercial space. The crowded compositions map out a “Geography of Nowhere”, a term coined by the author James Howard Kunstler in his 1993 book by the same name exploring the effects of sprawl, civil planning and the automobile on American society. I grew up in a small community in New Brunswick amidst residential subdivisions and a short highway commute through the sprawl of commercial retail centres. This sort of nowhere typical of the outskirts of large North American cities has become the focus of my paintings.
I am grateful to acknowledge the support of Arts Nova Scotia for this exhibiton