Exploring Pop Culture Desires Through a Byzantine Lens

Ottawa-based artist Adrian Gor’s exhibition at ARTSPLACE Gallery Annapolis Royal is by turns shocking, amusing, and insightful.
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In Performers in New Old Historical Landscapes, Gor upends figures of cultural, political, and religious influences from ancient to present times through lino-cut prints and mixed-media paintings in an unexpected play of medieval-inspired themes and pop art inspiration in images that include drones and shopping carts.

A part-time faculty member at Concordia University in Montreal and a studio and art history instructor at Ottawa School of Art in Ottawa, Gor’s teaching and artistic research encompass theoretical and practical aspects of Byzantine Art in relation to the history of Western visual culture and contemporary art. As a young man, he learned the secrets of painting Byzantine icons on wood panels from monks in his native Romania.

“I was deeply affected by how people found meaning and solace in the stylized images of Christ and the saints.” said Gor. “I find there is a new religion defining our lives. Instead of old saints, our heroes are pop culture idols fighting against the same old evils of bigotry, greed, and ignorance.”

“Gor believes we are exposed to too many images so he concentrates on slow-paced media such as egg tempera and gilding.” said gallery director, Sophie Paskins.

“As an artist, I am on a mission to make us stop and really see the themes that define modern life—using ancient icons as the gateway to a new understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.” Gor adds.

Adrian Gor will participate in two Zoom events: An artist talk Saturday, September 11, 7-9pm ($10, pre- registration required). The artist talk is $5 for those registering for Adrian’s workshop on Sunday September 12 (separate registration). Adrian will also join an in-person group via Zoom to present a workshop “The Invisible Light: Gilding Works on Paper,” Sunday September 12, 1:00-4:00pm. Remote participation is available via Zoom. Visit arcac-artsplace.weebly.com/whats-on.html.

Performers in New Old Historical Landscapes opens August 7 and runs through September 18. Also opening: Miscellany / Elephant Grass Printmakers, Wood Art Landscapes / Mike Leblanc, Azulejos / Lisa-Maj Roos.

ARTSPLACE is a public Art Gallery that is operated by the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council, a registered non-profit, charitable, community organization dedicated to encouraging and promoting the arts. Supported through the Province of Nova Scotia and the Canada Council for the Arts.

ARTSPLACE Gallery is located at 396 St. George Street in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. For more information visit arcac-artsplace.weebly.com.

Image: “Breaking The Linear Momentum”. Adrian Gor, Mixed media: 68” x 68” x 3 inches, 2020-21