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The art of Brian Porter at Yarmouth County Museum until late June

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.
The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

YARMOUTH - It’s impossible to walk past a collection of Brian Porter’s artwork without at least one of them reaching out to haul you back.

Test this challenge at the Yarmouth County Museum & Archives on Collins Street, where you’ll find his exhibit until the end of June.

You won’t find pastoral scenes, well, ok, maybe one or two, but there are many more that flex the mind. Porter says they all reflect a state of his mind at any given point.

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

“Obviously there’s a lot of conflict in my psyche. I probably think too much,” he said.

“They express how I’m thinking, feeling. I’m a cowboy, a pirate, a woman, the snowman, the loner, the magician or the sorcerer, an indian, going after the devil, the squirrel, Icarus…”

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

Growing up in town, Porter was never intrigued by boats and seascapes or painting the local environment.

“I was just as much if not more influenced by Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Howdy Doody, the Lone Ranger, the Roy Rogers, all that stuff.”

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

Nowadays, this artist doesn’t frame his work, or use canvas. He prefers instead to settle down on his couch and sketch on his lap, working with pen and ink and watercolour.

“I like the immediacy. The canvas is a little more ambitious. Maybe it’s a more humble approach. I mean you can certainly work through a lot of ideas on that scale. Look how many images are there, he gestures towards many small sketches pinned up in the shape of a large heart.

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

They trigger a variety of emotions: fascination, discomfort, admiration, puzzlement.

“They’re for thinking. They’re content. I like art that has an element of mystery to it. For me, mystery’s part of the package. It should be anyway,” he said.

He describes his artwork as a visual diary of his state of mind at any given time.

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

Up until his mid-forties he used to paint his dreams. But then the dreams stopped. He doesn’t know why but has a few theories.

“You’re taking something from the unknown that’s magical, a God-given gift - well, to turn it into money seems like a cheap use of it. That crossed my mind,” he said.

Porter went through a period of making figurines as subject matter and then started buying them at yard sales, Frenchys and the dollar store for that purpose. He’s also drawn cowboys from movies, pausing the show to sketch off the screen.

In addition to the exhibit at the museum, Porter’s work can be seen at the Murray Manor Art and Culture House gallery (225 Main St) and the Secord Gallery at 6301 Quinpool Road in Halifax.

More about artist Brian Porter

The art of Brian Porter can be seen at Yarmouth County Museum until late June.

Porter studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design from 1966-1970. He has participated in group exhibitions across Canada and Europe, and in numerous solo exhibitions in Nova Scotia.

He was the subject of a National Film Board documentary in 1976. In 1981, a documentary of his work was produced by CBC television.

Awards include: 1996-1998 Art Foundation Award New York Study Program; 1971, 1974, 1983 Canada Council.

 

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