- Robert Howson,Visual Artist
- N.J. Britton
Robert Howson was born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario and moved to Guelph after attending Lambton College
- and the University of Windsor in the visual arts programs. Since moving to Guelph Howson has devoted
- himself to his craft. Initially his art was a combination of found objects placed together in a variety of mediums.
- TARGETS, is a culmination his talent and demonstrates the clarity and maturity he brings to his work.
In TARGETS Howson provides a provocative view of the nagging truth about firearms
- their primary purpose is to kill.
- This collection of visual images is based on the human silhouette commonly used at firing ranges.
- This human 'figure' has been silkscreened on paper with flesh toned anatomical parts screened over the silhouette.
- By combining these realistic anatomical drawings with the abstract image of the human form, Howson provides
- a stark contradiction of ideologies. This exhibition is an examination of the reality of firearms use and the
- basic human desire for safety and security.
In speaking with Robert Howson you may draw the conclusion that he is apolitical but he states quite the opposite.
- When questioned about his position on firearms and gun controls he responded that, "I am certainly not apolitical
- but my point is not to make a personal protest or even make my position known but to provide and encourage an
- opportunity for the audiences of my work to examine their own views about firearms. My position is irrelevant.
- All I want to do is present my view of the realities of gun use on the human body and let the viewer respond to the
- visual stimuli and then examine their own response to the work."
With public awareness about gun use and controls at a peak, his most recent work seems timely. I asked Howson
- where his ideas originate. "My idea for this series came to me through observation of our culture and
- my own experience. I tend to observe cultural trends and public response to highly political or publicized issues.
- In the past I have focused on sex, sexuality, and their inter-relationships. This newest series is a departure
- from the concentration I have had on other areas and a desire to investigate new mediums."
While viewing this exhibit I questioned Howson as to who has influenced his art. Howson mentioned painter
- Francis Bacon whose use of fleshtones and distortion of the human body intrigued his sense of creativity.
- "American photographer Andre Serrano has created some of the most controversial works on the
- American art scene - he is a artist I admire for both his ingenuity and his courage to stretch the limits.
- Louise Bourgeois, an American artist who specializes in sculpture and installation art has
- also influenced my work" reported Howson.
TARGETS is Robert Howson's sixth solo exhibition and while the previous shows focused on sex,
- sexuality and the human form this exhibit appears to be more political and stronger in its presentation
- than his previous work. A must see for all concerned about humanity and our future.
TARGETS showed at the Art-in-Guelph Gallery From August 12, September 4, 1999
View TARGETS virtual show on www.art-in.guelph.com
- ROBERT HOWSON - PAINTER