Pictured is some of Daniel Needham’s art, currently on exhibit at Artful : The Gallery in Courtenay. Photo supplied

Pictured is some of Daniel Needham’s art, currently on exhibit at Artful : The Gallery in Courtenay. Photo supplied

Courtenay artist lands solo show at local gallery

Daniel Needham’s Balloons, Cartoons and Other Lampoons latest exhibit at Artful: The Gallery

By Kristna Campbell

Special to the Record

Comox Valley newcomer Daniel Needham has landed a solo show at Artful : The Gallery, in Courtenay (526 Cumberland Rd.).

Balloons, Cartoons and Other Lampoons opened on May 25, and runs until June 25.

There will be an evening celebration of the exhibition on May 27, 7-9 p.m.

An on-location artist talk with Needham is scheduled June 16, 6-7 p.m.

Recently relocated to Courtenay, Needham has been enjoying introducing himself and his artwork to the Comox Valley. Needham has a wide range of artistic production which extends from sculpting in marble to painting on black velvet, including stops and investigations at most every point between.

Describing his work as post-Catholic, Needham finds inspiration in his dismay about the stories he was told as a boy. He now derives great pleasure in re-interpreting and re-illustrating these tales to deliver a more humanist (and humorous) version. Needham’s keen intelligence, sardonic humour, and acerbic perspective serve him well as he levels his gaze squarely at the sacred icons of culture. He is unflinching as he pokes fun, and as precise in his execution as a surgeon.

Needham describes himself as having an elysian childhood, cavorting wildly through the woods, and yet his Catholic upbringing, and its art, is the dark seed of inspiration for much of his artwork. Needham is not apathetic to his religious upbringing and sees that his mission is to re-illustrate the stories of Catholicism, making post-Catholic work for the next millennia.

Needham characterizes his early working career as his Canadiana Program: window glazier, oil rig worker, tree planter, shipwright, commercial fisherman, cabinet maker and carpenter. This breadth of experience is reflected in the art he creates, demonstrating a mature skilfulness across mediums, materials, and genres. Needham worked as a civil servant for 25 years after earning his master’s degree in forestry economics. Over those years, he began producing art; paintings first, followed by stone sculptures, and now encompassing any material that suits his vision for execution. By the time Needham retired from public service, a pent-up artist was prepared to burst forth onto the island art scene, and he has done exactly that.

Needham’s artistry is as varied as his early careers, which served to educate him as a resourceful and innovative technician and artisan. The artworks that he creates are elegantly beguiling, often paradoxically belying his belittlement of the subject matter. Needham has not resorted to indifference in his dismissal. He is truly creating art for the next millennia, and as he says, “I like carving in rock best. Rock art lasts longest.”

Needham is driven to mock icons, rather than destroy them, for the benefit of humanity. An iconoclast attacks cherished beliefs or institutions, and an anachronist belongs to a different period of time. Needham is both, while paradoxically creating new icons to revere at this time. Needham succeeds, where others may fail, by using the gifts of his skill, his intelligence, and his ability to create beautiful objects. These highly irreverent objects of art challenge and provoke with the graceful sword edges of humour and humanity.

Regular gallery hours are Wednesdays – Saturdays, noon-5 p.m.

To learn more about Daniel Needham visit his website at: https://www.danielneedham.ca/

 

Pictured is some of Daniel Needham’s artwork, on exhibit at Artful : The Gallery in Courtenay until June 25.

Pictured is some of Daniel Needham’s artwork, on exhibit at Artful : The Gallery in Courtenay until June 25.

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