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Mitchell Wiebe: Creature Feature

Gallery Page and Strange, Halifax Aug 20 to Sep 3 2008
Mitchell Wiebe, <i>Misfits Mingle</i>, 2008 Mitchell Wiebe, Misfits Mingle, 2008

Mitchell Wiebe, <i>Misfits Mingle</i>, 2008

Imagine a place where dancing bears, toy dogs and other eccentric creature characters whirl happily above a vortex of licorice, gasoline, bubble gum and tattoos. That’s just one of the highly idiosyncratic scenarios that populate “Imagination Nation,” an exhibition of new paintings by Halifax artist Mitchell Wiebe currently on view at Page and Strange. Wiebe is something of a local legend in Halifax for his unique brand of serious nonsense. These “portal shifters,” as he calls his canvases, make full use of that unconventional edge in image constructions that match a surreal narrative sensibility with a deftly orchestrated kaleidoscope of colour and texture. But these paintings are not all fun and games: the more you look, the further you see that the comic surface play and candy colours of Wiebe’s fantastic daydreams are mere decoys for a fragmented, sinister undertone. Suddenly, whimsical becomes decidedly nightmarish—think the Brothers Grimm in spinning Technicolor. (1869 Granville St, Halifax NS)

This article was first published online on August 28, 2008.

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