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Patrice Stanley, Mara Agus Adhar (Scottish Gaelic for Sea & Sky) – oil on canvas, 60 x 30 inches, 2018

Exhibition: Patrice Stanley’s EMPYREAN at the OAG—10.17.18 to 11.18.18

By Taymaz Valley on October 14, 2018

Studio Sixty Six and Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) have announced a much-anticipated exhibition of new works by the Ottawa based artist Patrice Stanley to run at the OAG from October 17th until November 18th, 2018. Empyrean includes around 25 new works that capture Ms. Stanley’s brilliant artistic skills and establish her as major figure in Canadian painting today.

She produces a sense of marvel and awe with her new work that helps to form our reconnection with art. Relationships that are established here were forsaken for some time. However, Patrice Stanley manages to bring us closer to the essence of art while giving us majesty and grandeur through her work.  

The introduction of readymades is seen as the stimulus for the so-called intellectualization of art, away from emotions and passions that had driven our connection to art for most of human history. Through artists like Duchamp ideas, rather than feelings, came to dominate. Conceptual, Minimalist and even Pop sought to end the search for beauty and wonder, replacing them with an academic, cerebral, dry factual reading that became deceptively highbrow and elitist.  

Pseudopolitical readings of fashionable contemporary artworks that filled the international galleries became as prevalent as the longwinded explanations of the artists’ intent next to the pieces that were the only way an audience could tackle their incomprehension and puzzlement.

Patrice Stanley, Valhalla – oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches, 2018.

Artworks that had for millenniums inspired onlookers, instilling senses of humility, admiration and wonderment were replaced by works that at best begged the question “is this really art?” Throughout those dark days only a handful of artists held the fort when it came to the basic humanistic associations with art; however slowly drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramics rose from the ashes and established the need to reconnect with humanity again.

Today we have a renaissance of artists like Patrice Stanley who offering luminescence, brilliance and vision. They are once again giving us beauty that is on par with the old masters who moved worshipers to tears in cathedrals and temples.

In the end what are we if not creatures of touch with hopes of leaving a trace behind?

Patrice Stanley’s landscapes and seascapes have their genesis going back to the wondrous and epic works of Caspar David Friedrich, and J.M.W. Turner, but they feel contemporary and current. There is abstraction, and also there is a clear move away from reality towards the mythic, however produce exhilaration within us as if we are pilgrims setting off on a voyage or embarking on a great journey.

This is neoromanticism at its best. We are looking into the distant vast skies and seeing possibilities. The perilous expedition is about to commence, and we are eager to find out what lies beyond the horizon. These are the feelings that we’ve been missing for too long, and Patrice Stanley gives us the spirit of adventure. Being alive comes down to our senses and we pursue our destinies based on our desires for fulfillment in life. In the end what are we if not creatures of touch with hopes of leaving a trace behind?


EMPYREAN runs from October 17th until November 18th, 2018 at the Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge. The opening reception is on Wednesday, October 17th starting at 5pm at the OAG with the artist present.