As with most who call themselves artists, Reg Cantwell has been an avid participant since childhood. Born in Newfoundland & raised for the most part in Ontario, his very first memory as a child is of a train ride to Montreal with his mother, he recalls quite vividly clasping her silver lipstick case in his tiny hand & scrawling on the window as he tried to trace the shapes in bright red that moved past them too fast to capture.
His childhood and adolescence is filled with memories of slavishly yet gleefully working to meet the deadline of one art contest after another, the dance had begun.
After returning to Newfoundland he studied under notable Artists as diverse as Clarence Osmond & the late Don Wright. His formal education took shape in the study of Graphic Design at the College of the North Atlantic where he distinguished himself with honors. After completing the program he went on to work as a commercial artist for several years.
When reading a time line into the evolution of this artist, the year 2004 has to be considered the year that marked a large C change in his approach, attitude, outlook & even his output. It was the aftermath of a near fatal auto accident that led to the current almost obsessive interest in figurative work. As he states himself...
‘One day your driving along minding your own business then your whole life goes BANG! Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall & you try to put the pieces together only sometimes you can't.’...‘Continuing health problems, a completely altered lifestyle, loss of identity & self worth, the prayerful wishes of family & friends for all the world just to have the ability to take back two seconds of time, an entire world view shattered in an instant.’
The accident may as well have been nuclear, as it only took one moment of time but the fallout has mushroomed outward & touched every aspect of his life.
Equipped with this intimate knowledge it becomes clear when reading the marks made by Reg, that his search for meaning, existence, sensory observation & experience can be overwhelming. This is one artist who has come to the realization that it’s futile to attempt to create order out of chaos. Instead, he accepts that chaos & order will do their own thing as he tentatively attempts to learn how to adjust to the step changes.
The dance continues.
Photos from the artist summer residency program in 1979 at Don Wrights studio in Port Kerwin ( that's the 17 year old skinny me - with hair!... on the left)
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