|a brief history|
Barry Cogswell has been deeply involved in the making of art since the early Nineteen sixties. During the Seventies and early Eighties he had some success as a sculptor, and in 1983 was invited to exhibit in Stuttgart Germany in an exhibition showcasing contemporary trends in Canadian installation art. For personal reasons he then quit exhibiting and began developing work which, for him, more accurately reflected the realities of the world at the end of the 20th century. He found a way of combining his horror at the insanity of the human destruction of the natural environment with his desire to return to the discipline of painting.
He chose to paint details of the canopy of the tropical rainforest with renderings of assumed museum specimens of highly threatened butterfly species from the area of New Guinea.
As he says “Suddenly there seemed a very valid reason to paint; to paint a subject that I care deeply about. To paint for myself . . . not for exhibitions . . . not for recognition . . . for myself alone.”
As you will see, these paintings make little reference to the current trends in contemporary western art. Instead "…they have been dealing, on a very personal level, with my deeply heartfelt frustration at the worldwide habitat destruction and resultant loss of animal and plant species." For a number of years he developed this work with no intention to exhibit. However he has recently realized that he can use these paintings to benefit the environment by contributing part of the proceeds of any sales to, or by having benefits for, such groups as the David Suzuki Foundation and other wildlife organizations.