Several pieces by Alan Wylie

Friends stand side by side at art exhibit

It’s not unusual to see the work of painters Alan Wylie and Mike Svob in close proximity.

The two colleagues and friends have often collaborated on mural projects in Canada and the U.S., including large-scale pieces at the Vancouver International Airport, Lake Tahoe and Ballard, Wash.

Possibly their most impressive teaming has been a 256-foot-long, 16-panel celebration of  ‘Beautiful B.C.’ commissioned by Playtime Gaming.

But it’s through their individual, highly personal landscape interpretations that the public will meet them in the upcoming  exhibition Side By Side at White Rock Gallery, which opens Sunday, Sept. 25 (reception noon to 4 p.m., artists in attendance, 1247 Johnston Rd.).

The show, which runs until Oct. 2, demonstrates that two painters can share similar subject matter – outdoor scenes, urban landscapes and more intimate observations of their immediate environment – and be equally masterful in their techniques and handling of media, and yet still express unique and distinct personalities.

Wylie’s almost photographic approach is imbued with his sensitive awareness of lighting, colour and mood; Svob’s paintings often take a bolder, looser and more vivid approach to form and colour, but match Wylie’s in his ability to evoke a compelling mood.

As the show points out, they have frequently accompanied each other on travels around the world. They share similar outlooks and temperaments, the same wry sense of humour, and ultimately the same sense of professionalism.

To those who appreciate the diversity of their work, it’s also fascinating to see the way they can subsume their idosyncracies when collaborating on a mural – in effect, becoming one painter in their dedication to the overall design.

Wylie was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1938. In 1960, he graduated from the Glasgow School Of Art with a degree in mural design and mosaics. He immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1967, and began a career as a full-time artist, teacher and art gallery owner. In 1974 he moved to B.C. and now lives in Fort Langley with his wife, artist Janice Robertson.

While he is best known by collectors for his acrylic, oil and watercolour paintings, Wylie continues to be a noted mural and mosaic artist, with some 45 completed works to his credit in Scotland, Canada and the U.S.

He is a senior signature member and past president of the Federation of Canadian Artists (he received their lifetime achievement award in 2007). He is also a member of the Canadian Institute of  Portrait Artists, the Northwest Watercolour Society, the California Watercolour Association, the Louisiana Watercolour Society, the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, and is a ‘Dolphin Fellow’ of the American Watercolour Society (the first Canadian to achieve the distinction.

He is also one of only two Canadians invited to show work in the first International Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition in China.

Throughout his career, he has had more than 70 solo shows and has participated in numerous group exhibitions, as well as winning many prestigious awards in Canada and the U.S.

Born in Welland, Ontario in 1955, Svob is a later arrival to the world of fine art.

He’s been a full-time professional artist since 1982, but has racked up an impressive record of more than 70 exhibitions, including some 25 mural projects, on his own and with Wylie.

Like Wylie, he has mastered the intricacies, and demands, of  watercolours, oils and acrylics.

His brand of impressionism is typified by strong colour, but also shows an understanding of light and movement akin to Wylie’s.

Travelling the world in search of new sights and experiences is also important to him – as the pilot of his own light plane, he has flown coast-to-coast in Canada and the U.S.

He also combines his love for travel with his enthusiasm for sharing his painting knowledge with others, and is the popular leader of regular summer plein air painting workshops in either Europe or Mexico, as well as teaching throughout the year in B.C. and Alberta.

Like Wylie, he is a past president of  the Federation of Canadian Artists, in which he is a senior members, and is also the recipient of many awards.

As an author, he has contributed to the Artist’s Illustrated Encyclopedia and Design and Composition Secrets of Professional Artists, but his signal success was the 2002 best-seller Painted Red Hot Landscapes That Sell.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information about the exhibition, call 604-538-4452.

 

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