Eyes On the SUBLIME - Daniel Bagan

May 7 - July 3 2016

Daniel Bagan’s artistic philosophy is to create art from what you know. Images of landscapes, especially these which are from sites in the central Alberta Region, hold a certain familiarity in them because they mirror our own experiences of once being in similar places. The artist creates his work en plein air (on location outdoors), which means that his feelings as an artist about the surroundings at the time are a part of every image. In Bagan’s experience, he picked up on the immensity and mystery in landscape, which lead to the title eyes on the sublime:

“The word [sublime], of Latin origin, means something that is ‘set or raised aloft, high up’. The sublime is further defined as having the quality of such greatness, magnitude or intensity, whether physical, metaphysical, moral, aesthetic or spiritual, that our ability to perceive or comprehend it is temporarily overwhelmed.”*

Whether these images depict a far-reaching sunset on the horizon, a seemingly never-ending road, or a mass of ominous clouds; feelings of the sublime peek through. It is a challenge of the artist to authentically capture complexity in subject matter that can seem commonplace, and Bagan positions himself as a record keeper of these vistas as they change:

“…I believe the landscape subject matter to be at the heart of [our] regional culture (whether you border the idea at Canada, western Canada, Alberta, or Parkland County) and that there is still plenty of area for the artist to explore literally and figuratively.“

When we talk about sublime landscape, we think about nature’s potential impact on humans, but we may also consider the opposite. Just as we are small in comparison to the forces of nature, nature is also potentially fragile in the face of societal impacts. While you appreciate the breathtaking beauty in the scenery, imagine what emotion is expressed by each piece. In every stroke you may feel the artist’s intention – to find the innate sublime beauty of the immediate place while also observing and recording some of the folly.