Part art, part document, Rideout’s re-creations are both old and new
In his Toronto studio, Brian Rideout is busy painting history. His American Collection series of oil paintings depicts the residences of the highly privileged – and the famous artworks sequestered within. “I was interested in documenting art collections through paint as a way of giving those works context outside the museum or textbook,” the 34-year-old artist says.
Rich with stories, his compositions reflect their source material. The artist relies on vintage magazines and interior design books, and his settings, as a result, have a distinctly retro feel. One canvas reproduces the leafy vignette that is Henri Matisse’s 1953 large-scale ceramic La Gerbe (The Sheaf) as it hangs in its original environment, a sun-dappled Los Angeles courtyard designed by architect Archibald Quincy Jones.
Of recreating these images of artworks in their rarified homes, Rideout says, “I must consider all the environmental effects on the work: the lighting, the shadows and the reflected light from the environment.” For him, re-painting a Matisse or a de Kooning alongside a chair or table solidifies its “objecthood” and cultural value – and gives the public a uniquely layered, albeit fanciful, viewing experience.
Brian Rideout is represented by MKG127 in Toronto. American Collection Paintings: Edition II, a limited-edition book comprising 38 paintings from the American Collection Series, with an essay by local artist Miles Gertler, is available at brianrideout.ca $30.