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'The Climenhage Project' exhibited at Sadleir House. Photo by Irene Suvillaga.

Home, Through an Artist's Eyes: The Climenhage Project

Written by
Irene Suvillaga
and
and
November 18, 2021
Home, Through an Artist's Eyes: The Climenhage Project
'The Climenhage Project' exhibited at Sadleir House. Photo by Irene Suvillaga.

Peterborough-Nogojiwanong-based artist John Climenhage is considered a local gem. Climenhage has been painting, teaching and exhibiting throughout North America and his work has also been shown in countries like Australia, Germany, India and El Salvador, among others. For twenty years, his work has been an experimentation of postmodern approaches to the development of abstract spaces based on contemporary philosophy and quantum physics. With unadulterated hues and unconstrained visuals, Climenhage’s new exhibit “The Climenhage Project” has encapsulated the Peterborough scene through the recollection of landscapes known to every member of the community. The project contains paintings of more than 50 locations done between 2001 and 2021. Beyond playfully sparking memories of the places, Climenhage’s paintings provoke feelings of familiarity, connection and warmth that arise with each new scene. 

Paintings by John Climenhage on exhibit at Sadleir House. Photo by Irene Suvillaga.

The Climenhage Project is currently being exhibited at Sadleir House. Dozens of his paintings hang around the house, providing a sense of comfort and captivating idiosyncrasy within the space. 

The exhibit will continue until at least January 2021. As an ongoing project, the exhibit possesses an evolving quality as paintings are replaced with new ones as the seasons change. 

However, the project is not limited to the walls of Sadleir House - part of this project’s beauty is its distinctive and flexible interaction with the viewer. By accessing a map on your phone, you can enjoy a walking tour of the over 50 locations that Climenhage has painted. Each location is accompanied by a photo of its corresponding painting(s), as well as a link to a page which may contain a poem, history or other ephemera related to the location.

Defying the boundaries of reality and challenging our own monotony-ridden perceptions of the city, Climenhage’s exhibit transports the viewer through a mental tour of Peterborough, one which will be accompanied by the rumination of thoughts, memories, emotions and experiences. He manages to capture the study of light and shadow and explore the amalgamation of reality and abstraction in an unmatched manner. Through a harmonious symphony of colours, textures and what one would have once thought of as trivial imagery, the artist is able to encapsulate glimpses of the beauty of everyday life in Peterborough. From well-known public spaces around the city to obscure corners, anonymous streets and close-ups throughout the different seasons, Climenhage takes us through an intimate journey around the city without leaving the warmth of Sadleir House.

Painting by John Climenhage.

From my personal experience traversing this unique exhibit, Climenhage’s art is devoid of the artist’s bias or expectations and selflessly gives itself to the individual spectator. Every one of his paintings allow the viewer to immerse themselves in the still life of the painting. They invite us to dive into a surreal philosophical realm where our memories collapse with the artist's eye, where the desolated spaces give way to the imagination. Through a combination of short and long strokes, vivid textures and an intentional lack of subjects in the paintings, Climenhage’s art is able to act as an immersive experience that situates the audience at the centre of the piece by allowing total freedom of emotional exploration and a warmth emanating from the ability to feel connected in a solitary landscape.

The Climenhage Project exhibit launches this upcoming Friday November 26 at 7 pm in the newly renovated Sadleir House. The project will be accompanied by literary readings and video screenings as well as the work that four artists and poets did in response to Climenhage’s display. Artist John Climenhage himself will be attending virtually, with a painting session live streamed from his downtown studio. With a limited capacity of 60 attendees, be sure to pre-register, provide proof of vaccination and wear a mask during the event! The $10 entry fee will be donated to the One Roof Community Centre, who is dedicated to their work in combating homelessness, food insecurity and social exclusion in the city of Peterborough.

 Contact troutinplaid@gmail.com if you need to arrange a payment by cash or e-transfer.

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