In pursuit of simplicity

As a child, when I was asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up” I always gave the same answer: “a forest ranger or a lighthouse keeper.” Most people found this funny, coming from a little girl. Now, when I think about painting—about its paths and its shipwrecks—and of the moment when the picture emerges into the light and starts living its own life, I realize that I did not stray far from my childhood ambitions. They had nothing to do with professions but with a state of being. Painting is a form of reflective solitude in which you can stand like a watchtower or lighthouse keeper, looking at the world from a distance.


Maybe you can’t say they were painted. Maybe all you can honestly say is that they were found. Like a landscape you walk into without even thinking about it. Or, say, like a leaf in autumn. A falling leaf. There are red ones, yellow ones, and everything in between, so you’re not quite sure what to name the colours, but one thing is for sure: you see them all. This falling leaf is embalmed in a precise, unique fragment of sunlight. It spins down on its very own coil of time. It has no other name to speak of.

This could as well be a scene revealed in the light of a falling star. Keeping this in mind, maybe you bend down to pick up that leaf and think that the lines in your hands are little bones—bird bones, fish bones—that hold your palm up; that the tree is a carcass of open hands, and that its leaves hold the light around them without even touching it.

Then again, you are probably wrong. That light maybe has nothing to do with the tree, with your hands, and even less with the way you see it. But you’re already thinking too much. The way this light holds together with space, you might as well call it a landscape and leave it at that. Every taxonomic principle, every skeleton you hold up to the facts crumbles like that leaf left for time to work upon.

Get with it: your eyes, like mine, are just marbles where shapes spin into a vague focus before trying to resolve at the back of your head. You might have seen this happen in the hollow of a movie hall, where the shadows trip over one another, feeling along the sprockets for some way out into the next fragment of lost time.

Don’t tell me you don’t know we can’t produce—can’t see—a light greater than the one that illuminates this world. If that happened, the world would retreat in its own shadow and take us with it. So why don’t you do something with that leaf and leave it at that? After all, it’s nothing, almost nothing at all. And there is nothing, really, to be said about that and no reason to find for it. Just seeing is worth it. And I really don’t want to suggest anything by that. Anything at all.

Daniel Canty


1961 Born in Gdansk, Poland

1981 - 88 Academy of Fine Arts - Gdansk, Poland

1988 Academy of Fine Arts - Gdansk, Poland
Masters's Degree in Fine Arts (MA), Major: Painting

1989 Scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Arts and Culture

1990 Award from the Polish Ministry of Arts and Culture for the Best Final Project - “Dyplom 88/89”

1993 Moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada



2010 Vancouver Art Gallery / AR&S - Vancouver, Canada / Cooperation

2008 Jennifer Kostuik Gallery - Vancouver, Canada
Group show

2004 Jennifer Kostuik Gallery - Vancouver, Canada
If you look far enough,” a solo show

2002 Jennifer Kostuik Gallery - Vancouver, Canada

2001 Cross Media Talent Group - San Francisco, USA

2000 Bau-Xi Gallery - Vancouver, Canada
“Small Works,” a group show

2000 Bau-Xi Gallery - Vancouver, Canada
“35th Anniversary”, group show

2000 Bau-Xi Gallery - Vancouver, Canada
View from my Window,” a solo show

1999 Bau-Xi Gallery - Vancouver, Canada
Short Stories”, a solo show

1998 Bau-Xi Gallery - Vancouver, Canada

1993 Gallery 78 - Gdynia, Poland
A solo show

1992 Gallery Zapiecek - Warsaw, Poland

1991 Gallery BWA - Sopot, Poland
"Przeglad 91", a group show

1990 Gallery BWA - Torun, Poland
"Dyplom 88/89", a group show

1990 Gallery BWA - Sopot, Poland
"Konfrontacje 90", a group show

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