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Roosman Touching Jazz

October 1, 2019

Oct. 1, 2019

By Nate Smelle

Catching up with painter Arne Roosman at his home/studio in Coe Hill, Bancroft This Week recently had the opportunity to get an early look into the artist’s upcoming exhibit Touching Jazz. With the opening of the show on Oct. 5 fast approaching, Roosman has been spending most of his time immersed in jazz music. From the dozens of paintings and drawings decorating his walls and the many others stacked and ready to be transported to the exhibit, Roosman’s creative juices are clearly flowing strong.
Roosman’s Touching Jazz exhibit is part of a broader series that focuses on touch. The series consists of works from several exhibitions, compiled into books bearing titles such as: “A Touch of Arsenic;” “A Touch of Ragnarök,” “A Touch of Charcoal,” “Touching the Universe,” and “Touching the Moon.”
According to Roosman, Touching Jazz will feature portraits of the musicians, primarily jazz musicians, fueling his creativity throughout the creation of the show. The exhibit will also include paintings of “dancers lost in the music,” and an entire wall of the gallery decorated with a flowing rainbow of colour that silhouettes the abstract movements of dancers. Having experienced several jazz legends perform live, Roosman says he was able to draw inspiration for the show from his personal memories as well as other sources.
“Originally I wasn’t going to paint the instruments or the players, so my thought I would use my imagination to somehow dream up the music … but that changed,” says Roosman.
“All the portraits are images off the record covers all of their music, which I played when rendering the drawings. Ella Fitzgerald has the privilege to be present in oil. I enjoyed her live performance at Berns in Stockholm way back in the early ’50s, so with Nat King Cole.”
As a “lover of music” Roosman says he has thoroughly enjoyed the creative process of “Touching Jazz.” However, as inspiring as the improvisational nature of jazz music and the spontaneous movements it produces in one’s imagination and on the dance floor are, he says these same elements have raised an age-old problem for painters. That being, the limitations of creating in two dimensions.
“During the Italian Renaissance we suddenly discovered the possibility of perspective, and how to pull in another dimension into the two-dimensional canvas,” explains Roosman.
“Then of course we had the cubists doing their thing to try and break up the flatness.”
To circumvent this problem in Touching Jazz, Roosman says he created a third dimension and “sense of void” between the competing virtually touchable visuals by painting a “cascade of colour” that appears as a flowing rainbow backdrop for the black dance shapes coming out forcefully at the viewer.
Using the words of the esteemed architect A.J. Diamond to describe his experience of Touching Jazz, Roosman says “I don’t think one sees anything until one draws it.”
The official opening of Touching Jazz will take place on Oct. 5 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Studio Dreamshare in Pembroke. Roosman will return to the gallery on Oct. 19 to lead a workshop on charcoal drawing that starts at 1 p.m., and then again for a night of jazz with Arne Roosman on Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.



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