A&E » Arts

Whistler’s own Picasso

Artist Daniel Poisson layers projected photographs, African faces and paint in new solo exhibition



What: 1 Earth: Sharing Space artist reception

Who: Daniel Poisson

When: Saturday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Admission: Free

Every time artist Daniel Poisson finishes his artwork these days, he has to fight the urge to splatter and scratch at the canvas.

The past ritual is sort of a celebration on finishing the piece; the unleashing of the last drops of creative adrenaline and shaking it off like a dog drying itself after coming out of a lake.

Release and control. Release and control.

The two polar opposites ebb and flow within Poisson’s skilled and passionate paintbrush which seeks to destroy and elevate, drawing inspiration from pictures of African tribal members. He creates stencils from the photos taken by his father, Donald, layering them on top of paint and patterns.

“We’ve kind of destroyed the tribal people of the planet; I let people know it,” Poisson said of his artwork. “Essentially I am destroying artwork and overloading it, but I am overloading it with colours that are uplifting, so I believe it creates a positive, spiritual message.”

This spiritual message will be conveyed in Poisson’s first solo exhibit in Whistler, called 1 Earth: Sharing Space, at MY Millennium Place for the month of January. An artist reception will open the exhibit on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. in the upstairs gallery.

The showcase includes two settings. On one side, a dozen of Poisson’s giant colourful acrylics will be showcased; on the other, six of his father’s photographs used in his painting works.

“Visually, it’s going to be overwhelming,” Poisson said. “It will be a real visual contrast. You’ll get the intensity and colour of my work with larger-than-life African faces and then large black and white photos on the other.

This technique of layering shadows of African profiles with more layers of paint, shapes and even images (sometimes just small photos used as a tile mosaic) create Poisson’s signature look.

The process resulted from his decision to paint live at the Whistler Music and Arts Festival in the summer of 2006. Poisson wanted to entertain or at the very least shock village strollers.

“It couldn’t be average and it had to be large and overwhelming,” he said. “I had to make people look at it and think ‘wow’, or ‘what happened?’ or ‘what is he doing?’”

Often reactions are a mixture of both, with Poisson’s live art shows in high demand around Whistler. He’s painted at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Brave Art exhibition, ARTrageous and LUNA Harvest Art Fest, just to name a few. He’s broadening his audience base to Vancouver in the new year with a solo show at FALCIONI’S Café gallery where underground, street-oriented art is showcased.