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Though Brent McIntosh’s landscapes depict realist subject matter, they retain a distinct expressionism that fundamentally alters their representational nature. From afar or when reproduced photographically, his landscapes appear conventionally rendered, conveyed with purposeful accuracy. It is only in close proximity that McIntosh’s use of abstraction is revealed to the viewer: the representational forms are composed of a wide spectrum of fantastical hues, though arranged with such frenetic diligence that their plethora amplifies rather than diminishes the realism of the paintings.

It’s a unique technique McIntosh has been perfecting over the past thirty years. Though not quite an action painter, his slashing and carving of the surface lends a kinetic energy to the emerging image; the use of palette knives, rather than brushes, allowing him this mobility. The process is a constant duel with the canvas, a heated struggle to preserve the realism of the landscape through the complex colour schematic that stylistically defines his work. “Each colour behaves relative to those surrounding it,” McIntosh explains. “They must be arranged so as to allow them to vibrate and activate each other while maintaining structural accuracy. Balancing the colours throughout the image without stagnating, acidifying, or flattening the painting is a consuming portion of the process.

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