Spotlight: In His U.K. Debut, Artist Sky Glabush Distills His Folkloric Landscapes Into Refined, Geometric Visions

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About the Artist: Originally from British Columbia and currently living and working in London, Ontario, Canadian artist Sky Glabush (b. 1970) maintains a meticulous artistic practice that centers on drawing, which is then translated into painting. Frequently adding sand into his paint to create texture and depth, Glabush’s work is largely figurative but with undercurrents of abstraction, drawing the viewer in and attempt to grasp what is conceptually just beyond the surface. Graduating with a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, and MFA from the University of Alberta, alongside Glabush’s artistic practice he is also an associate professor of visual art at the University of Western Ontario. His work has been exhibited widely across Canada, and has been acquired by several important Canadian institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and Museum London—the latter of which Glabush will have a solo exhibition at in 2024.

What You Need to Know: As one of Canada’s preeminent mid-career artists, Glabush is the subject of the solo show “Sky Glabush: The Arrangement of Stars” at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London—his first solo in the United Kingdom. Opening to the public this Thursday, April 20, and on view through May 20, 2023, the exhibition presents a collection of Glabush’s most recent body of work, featuring landscape as well as figurative paintings. Drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources, including art history and his own lived experiences, the collection of work illustrates both the artist’s technical acuity as well as unique creative vision.

Why We Like It: Glabush’s compositions contain an exceptionally nuanced combination of highly linear geometry and natural, organic elements. The patterns and sequences of shapes, in conjunction with color palettes that are at once bold and harmonious, lend to the work’s meditative nature. Works like (2023) seemingly portray a rising sun over a grassy landscape while simultaneously evoking mandalic traditions, inspiring contemplation, and inward reflection. Elsewhere, the works and , both 2023, reveal the artist’s interest in and command of the boundaries between representation and abstraction. employs an abundance of clear lines, fracturing the surface and each outlining a specific field of color and texture. Together, these elements coalesce into the view of a mountain range, but without sacrificing the prominence of the foundational elements within the composition. employs a similar prominence of line and shape, but instead incorporates repetition and symmetry to create a vignette both identifiable as a natural landscape, but readable as an interpretable abstraction of shape and color. Throughout the works on view in the exhibition, Glabush’s signature tactility, achieved through pigment mixers and dense application, offers an immersive and mesmeric viewing experience.

See featured works from the exhibition below.

Sky Glabush, Sar-Galú (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, Gash gold-vermillion (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, Star-sown sky (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, Faery (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, Young Acrobat (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Sky Glabush, (2023). Photo: Joseph Hartman. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

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