Celebrated worldwide for his emotional paintings and sculptures, Canadian artist James Picard brings his unique live painting and immersive art experience The Dark & The Wounded to San Francisco Bay’s legendary Alcatraz on May 5.
Journeying into some of the bleakest locations known including decommissioned psychiatric hospitals and disused prisons, Picard’s sensitive energies tap into the well of emotional injuries that haunt the somber corridors of these empty edifices to produce deeply moving and sometimes disturbing work. Exhibition attendees not only experience Picard’s work, but also the setting that inspired the work and are forced to face the darkness and wounds in their own hearts and souls.
Picard notes “As individuals and as a society, we’re not dealing with the deeper issues. The Dark & The Wounded is about understanding and healing, and looking at things we’ve been afraid to acknowledge. This is about facing reality, getting past the fear, and finding freedom.” Adding, “Our world is on edge. We are faced with wars, food and water shortages, health epidemics, human trafficking, racism, homophobia, and homelessness. These issues can also affect us in our daily lives, and on top of it, we might be dealing with violence, drug and alcohol abuse, neglect, and the ache of loneliness. The list of our wounds is long and overwhelming.”
The Dark & The Wounded has appeared at numerous notable locations since debuting at the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Vancouver in 2012. Other locations have included the Lincoln Heights Jail and Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, the Rolling Hills Asylum in New York, and Berkeley Church in Toronto. Future locations include Sacramento’s Preston Castle on May 7, France’s WWII destroyed town Oradour-sur-Glane, the Paris Catacombs, the Berlin Bunkers, a Polish concentration camp and others.
In addition to the incredible locations and work, attendees are also immersed into the experience through a musical soundscape created for The Dark & The Wounded by noted film score composer Jeff Danna (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Lakeview Terrace, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus).
Picard has exhibited extensively in over one hundred art shows throughout North America and Europe. He had the rare privilege of painting live with renowned composer George Blondheim and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. His work, prized by an ever growing number of collectors including can be seen in both public and private collections across Canada, the United States, London, Paris, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Australia. Picard’s work has been exhibited next to art legends such as Picasso, Matisse, Miro, and Warhol in top Canadian Art Museums, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and gallery collections including London’s Westbrook Gallery, and New York’s RM Fine Art.
Picard continues, “The Dark and The Wounded series is not only about the consequences of our unacknowledged pain. It is about being aware that we all suffer. Through acceptance, we can become more compassionate, towards ourselves and others, and we can heal our wounds. Finally he notes, “The paintings in this series are reflective of some of the dark and wounded times in human history as well as from my own life experience. I wanted to touch on the fears we have by looking inward. Working on this series has helped me to heal. It is my hope it does the same for you.”
About James Picard:
James Picard is absolutely in love with art. Keenly aware that every minute counts, James works feverishly, seizing every opportunity to create the vivid and striking images his mind conjures up.
In “James Picard: Off the Canvas,” a documentary film about the artist, Picard describes how, as a young boy, he often drew on the backs of cupboard doors or under the sheets by flashlight in order to hide his compulsion for creating, as he grew up with little support for his talent. Despite that fact, he knew from a young age that art would be his path. At the age of eighteen, his tenacity and talents drew him to prestigious art schools such as Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art where he began formal studies to develop his raw artistic talent.
Eager to continue further artistic development after art school, he began to associate with artists such as William Ronald, Joyce Weiland, and Jack Shadbolt. He apprenticed for Cuban artist Ramon Amor, Canadian sculptor Thaddeus Szpelowitz, and the notable Canadian artist Harold Town. Town commented that Picard’s talent is “rare in the art world”. Through the support of his teachers, Picard learned how to convey his messages and visions into any art form. His talents flourished.
When James Picard is not painting, he is teaching others how to paint. Whether it is in Vancouver or New York, his talents for teaching painting, drawing, and sculpting are recognized and well respected. He has received many awards and accolades for his work and for his contributions to communities and charities throughout North America. He has been commended for his work with both hospitalized and inner city kids and for starting up the first sculpture class in the province of British Columbia for visually impaired students. Picard is an extraordinarily talented artist with a big heart whose passion enriches our world.