For three decades, Tiko Kerr has explored Vancouver's landscape during a period when the city has been involved with volatile self-examination and redefinition. The late curator, Doris Shadbolt wrote of his work: "Like all committed artists Kerr is constantly seeking to deepen and enlarge his vision and he is surely committed to a future as a painter. He has successfully, even brilliantly, demonstrated the continuing viability of the medium, despite critical pressure that suggests it is time for painting to give way to more specifically cerebral modes of expression."
A recent health challenge presented the opportunity for a dramatic breakthrough in his practice: creating collage studies for large acrylic/oil paintings that explore figuration and abstraction in a more conceptual way (involving a balance of chance and deliberate composing.) In Tiko Kerr’s recent work, he examines the transformation of one image into another; the alteration of works created in one period of art history, re-imagined into a contemporary view; our own perception of what we see, and perhaps what we think, into a new view.
He draws on images from art history and, in doing so, creates a collaboration with artists across time and space. About his work, Kerr has said “By referencing art history, current events and celebrity culture, I attempt to flesh out the conflicting scenarios that express the overlooked mythologies in our present contemporary lives while probing the tension that exists between figuration and abstraction in my own artistic practice."
The compositions are masters of disguise, eliciting introspection, irony and humour from the ordinary. They are paradoxical in that they seemingly demystify art in the populist sense, while remaining cryptic enough to allow the viewer to interpret the work, and what we perceive, in a variety of ways.