Spotlight: Canadian Artist Pat Service Pushes Landscape Painting Into Fertile New Territory

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What You Need to Know: Canadian artist Pat Service (b. 1941) is one of British Columbia’s most esteemed landscape painters, and the current exhibition at Oeno Gallery in Ontario, “Pat Service: Oh Yeah,” is the 56th solo show of her career. Service has been working as an artist for more than four decades, honing her technical skill and developing a multifaceted stylistic vernacular. Works range from realist and Impressionist to minimal and abstract, with a particular influence felt from Matisse-like Fauvism. Oeno presents a survey of Service’s work from a variety of periods in her career, offering insight into the evolution of her practice.

Why We Like It: A survey exhibition like this allows viewers to observe how Service has synthesized and remade historic and contemporary stylistic developments into a cohesive body of work. While Impressionism clearly influences Service’s work, there are also distinct visual parallels with 20th century movements, namely Color Field painting. Sparse yet detailed landscapes recall the work of Milton Avery, while more abstract canvases are reminiscent of artists like Jules Olitski. Working in series has continually been an important part of Service’s practice, allowing her to focus on and explore the artistic questions she is pursuing—but also allowing viewers to visually follow her investigations. Overall, the exhibition is a bright and colorful testament to Service’s singular artistic oeuvre.

According to the Artist: “Working side by side with abstract artists, I began to envy their freedom to invent color relationships and focus on mark-making. The energy and excitement that comes with that kind of innovation—I wanted some of that. Up to then, I had worked closer to nature; not in a very detailed way, but my work always had a clear reference to the real world. Now I began to liberate myself from that close connection and trust the casual references that can evoke a world of their own.”

See installation images from the exhibition below.

Installation view, "Pat Service: Oh Yeah," 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, “Pat Service: Oh Yeah,” 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, "Pat Service: Oh Yeah," 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, “Pat Service: Oh Yeah,” 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, "Pat Service: Oh Yeah," 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, “Pat Service: Oh Yeah,” 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, "Pat Service: Oh Yeah," 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Installation view, “Pat Service: Oh Yeah,” 2022. Courtesy of Oeno Gallery, Ontario.

Pat Service: Oh Yeah” is on view at Oeno Gallery, Bloomfield, Ontario, Canada, through October 2, 2022.

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