In an artist talk given last Saturday (Feb. 12) at the West Van gallery, Pierre Coupey introduced the audience (at least it was an introduction for me) to the concept of proprioception and how it influences the way he makes his work.
Proprioception is an inherent sense apart from the exteroceptive senses (how we perceive the outside world) and interoceptive senses (how we sense what is going on inside our bodies), and concerns where parts of the body are as they relate to on another. Pierre spoke about the content of the paintings having a proprioceptive sense that allows for composition and colour to determine itself. He also provided the caveat though of “art is a game, and if I’m losing, I change the rules” (quote attributed to Michael Snow).
Pierre’s methodology perhaps came from the motivation for making many of these paintings in the first place. He recounted a story about the burial of Robin Blaser, a noted author and poet, and the passage from being someone perceived to someone remembered. This idea, combined with remembered perceptions from his travels and youth, inform Pierre’s paintings and to hear him recount the thought process (or conscious effort to remove the thought-process) was enlightening.