Exhibition runs October 7th to November 4th, 2020
This exhibition is part of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program.
Curated by Xanthe Isbister
Heaven Can Wait is a series of works by Medicine Hat–based artist Roy Caussy. These vivid, colourful drawings were generated through an intuitive approach, fulfilling subconscious directives, and the results are lighthearted. User-friendly materials were utilized to create these vibrant pieces, the artist explains, “It was important to me that the drawings be produced with ‘simple’ materials, specifically: crayon, pencil crayon, watercolour, gouache and India ink. The reason for this is because I want my drawings to be both approachable and understandable, giving the viewer a sense that, with enough practice, they could achieve something similar.” Though Caussy asserts how attainable these results are, the compositional complexity of his work is proof of his undeniable artistic ability.
Inspired by Caussy’s love of colour and popculture references, these drawings conjure nostalgia for the mid-1990s. At first glance reminiscent of trendy genre posters, they bring a lightness to our society’s current pandemic heaviness. Caussy visually conveys the bizarre state of our social order, in which absurd and melancholic narratives clash. He explains, “I wanted to move away from any attempt to make these drawings important or serious and instead have the works feel fun, and operate on a visual and emotional level. I also wanted the colour palette and content to be as eye-catching as possible so that the work screams for attention, no matter where the drawings are hung.”
As an artist and art educator, Caussy wanted to create a body of work that exhibited uninhibited creativity. He wanted to communicate the freedom of one’s imagination, and the creative confidence that is generated from that freedom. “As a drawer,” he says, “you get to create worlds and build concepts and ideas; you get to grow your imagination.” These works are truly the outcome of the artist’s uninhibited, innate drive to create. They embody contemporary drawing practices and pull you into a mind-expanding visual experience.
About the Artist
Roy Caussy (b. Hamilton, ON) lives and works in Medicine Hat, AB. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and his MFA from the University of Lethbridge, in Studio Arts (2015). Caussy’s work often revolves around serendipity and intuition, with research interests in WWII and the emergence of a youth demographic and youth marketing; his practice is comprised of sculpture, drawing, audio and installation. Caussy has been included in group shows at museums across North America, including the San Diego Art Institute, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and has had solo exhibitions at Stride Gallery (Only the Losers ; 2019), and the Art Gallery of Alberta (The King is Dead …; 2020). Caussy has participated in numerous residencies across Canada, including the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. In the Fall of 2020, Roy will be participating in an exhibition at the Nanaimo Art Gallery.
Producing these drawings was a real treat. I approached the opportunity to create a new body of work for TREX as a chance to free
myself from the constraint of needing to know, or understand, what I was to produce prior to the actual making. In my studio, I set a pace that did not allow room for much introspection or secondguessing. Rather, I worked at a fairly fast clip, forcing the drawings to evolve from an intuitive and subconscious level as opposed to a rational one. This way of working is what lends the drawings a sense of immediacy and dynamism, and what gives them an emotional quality. This body of work is inspired by my love of colour, texture, and pop-culture references.
It was important to me that the drawings be produced with “simple” materials, specifically crayons, pencil crayons, watercolours, gouache, and India ink. The reason for this is because I want my drawings to be both approachable and understandable, giving the viewer a sense that, with enough practice, they could achieve something similar. To reflect this “simple” sentiment in the content of the drawings, I moved away from any attempt to make these drawings important or serious so that they would feel fun, and operate on a visual and emotional level. I also wanted the colour palette and content to be as eye-catching as possible so that the work screamed for attention, no matter where the drawings were hung.
It is imperative to me that the drawings be relatable on a material level. I want the viewers to see that they can be inspired by simple materials available at any store that sells art supplies. It is important to encourage an artistic practice in everyone, and to demonstrate how easy it is to be artistic. People often explain to me how unartistic they are because they “can’t even draw.” The reality is that they just needed the right encouragement early in their life to build up enough confidence in themselves. The other beautiful thing about drawing is that it can be entirely based on one’s imagination. As a drawer, you get to create worlds and build concepts and ideas; you get to grow your imagination.
These drawings were produced for TREX Southeast, in Medicine Hat, AB, during the early spring of 2020.