Cultus Lake artist Maxwell Newhouse says the new exhibit might be his largest ever with more than 60 paintings on display in the art gallery at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
The most exciting part of it all?
“The fact that I was able to hang it exactly the way I wanted, which was using a New York or Andy Warhol style,” says Newhouse.
“It’s not your typical painting-in-a-frame. It’s a large cluster of work collaged together.”
Home, Community, and Northern Wildlife is the name of the show that opened last week, and Newhouse also took the opportunity to launch his brand-new work there, Counting on Snow.
“It was the most successful opening reception of my whole career,” he said, adding that about 225 people showed up. “It was fantastic and all my books sold but one or two.”
All of the paintings were created from his wonderful children’s books ranging from the Musical Ride, and The House That Max Built, to Let’s Go For a Ride, and the Weber Street Work Crew. Now they’re hanging in formations in the beautiful new gallery.
His method was to lay all the pieces out on the floor, assemble them with plywood strips, and then lift the whole works in one piece.
The connected paintings from The House That Max Built “gives you a really flashy, kaleidoscopic feeling,” as you walk along and view them.
There’s another striking difference in the way he has presented his work: All of it is at eye level for children and shorter adults.
“It’s hung for children. The paintings lower,” Newhouse admits.
The black and white images from Counting on Snow are lined up in frosty row that extends about 20 metres down the gallery wall. The first page in the counting book showcases 10 caribou on a crisp winter’s night. Then the snowstorm starts and the creatures are almost in whiteout conditions by the final page with one lone moose left, whose form is barely discernible through the thick snowflakes.
“It’s like something from a movie.”
Newhouse says he was a little leery of doing a wildlife book. He immersed himself in the works of some of his favourite wildlife artists like Robert Bateman.
“I’m not wildlife artist but I think I did OK.”
He’s not the only one to think so. Here’s part of the Counting on Snow book review by Quill and Quire’s Shannon Ozirny:
“Newhouse’s sensitive portrayal of the stark Arctic landscape creates an atmospheric chilliness that perfectly captures a winter evening north of the 49th parallel.
“Original without being gimmicky, Counting on Snow should come with the purchase of every crib in this country, as it has all the makings of a Canadian classic.”
The show runs until Feb. 17. Enter a contest to win Newhouse’s new book at: http://tundrabooks.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/launch-of-counting-on-snow/