“John Climenhage’s internalization of geographical boundaries sets in motion new insights of moving through the landscape. The act of seeing encapsulates an ever-present flow. Animated viewpoints draw us toward more immediate perceptions. This artist constructs a topology of recollection, instilling within the act of painting phenomenological experiences. An aesthetic of relationships is fine-tuned in this body of work. The depth of experience transforms pictorial space into dynamic processes of engagement.”
Maralynn Cherry, Terre Sauvage: The Topology of Anamnesis catalogue, 2015
“Driving further, to the north and to the west, there are places with names like Marathon, Quetico, Vermilion Bay.
White line measures time.
Rail cars keep rhythm.
A place of inspiration for a sun-reddened, wind-whipped, wild painter.
Leaf in hair, twigs clutching at his coat.
These are the places where, on summer days, a plein air painting session could take place.
Pushing pigment to create a distorted, coke bottle view of a vast land.”
Paolo Fortin, Terre Sauvage: The Topology of Anamnesis catalogue, 2015
“Landscape work in a Canadian context inevitably brings the Group of Seven to the fore … You can follow the lines between the G-7 canon and Climenhage’s paintings, but then you’d miss the bigger picture. For Climenhage engages representational perception in a very painterly way, but he also moves past it into another kind of seeing.”
Gil McElroy, Akimbo, 2014
“He has subsumed more than 20 years of painting en plein air landscapes into new terrains that map the imagination, memory, and how we see the world. Terre Sauvage: The Topology of Anamnesis represents years of intense self-directed study informing a process of creation as much about the mysteries of quantum entanglement as Climenhage’s extensive knowledge of art and art history.”
Michael Fazackerley, KawarthaNOW, 2014
“He goes deeper into Emily Carr’s dark vertiginous forests, into nature’s animus, and introduces us to a sort of multi-dimensional Mandelbrot set with his chunky cloud formations, overreaching trees, somnambulant rivers and liminal horizons. A single branch suspends an entire island at its tip for no logical reason. We see the landscape simultaneously from an insect’s and an eagle’s point of view. Apparently, just like that, paint has transfigured the laws of physics, of time and space.”
Ann Jaeger, Trout in Plaid, 2014
“Many of the pieces play with a horizon that appears, disappears and then reappears again. Sometimes the horizon curls up, creating the illusion of a landscape that is falling away from you. The handling of paint and the brushstrokes give the static a sense of swirling movement.
“Climenhage is too philosophically expansive to be confined to one genre. And so, this collection is a move away from landscape to, if you will, geo-political landscape. Painted in oil on a variety of surfaces, these abstracts all meditate on perception, whether it is the perception of reality (material substance) or the perception of meaning (spiritual substance).”