Wall Space Gallery invites you to explore What We Know So Far, the whimsical world of Toronto-based painter Richard Ahnert. Ahnert's anthropomorphic characters figure into our own experiences of contemporary life and culture. With humour and quintessential Canadian references, Ahnert provokes a range of emotions from empathy and love, to solitude.
Though his canvases tug at
our hearts with their seemingly light-hearted and whimsical subjects, Ahnert is adept at lacing his narratives with satire to address issues of urban
development and its effect on the creatures that inhabit the planet. In Lucky Day and Pass, the plight of Arctic polar bears’ ecosystem and food sources is tied up in two cubs’ excitement over the chilled refuge of a vintage ice-cream truck amidst a desert landscape, and a cub unenthused with his canned tuna dinner. Ahnert’s brilliance lies in his ability to marry our memories and
sentiments for everyday life to the larger picture of environmental stewardship.
I use the relationship between animals and humans to explore themes of emotion, metaphor, and narrative with a satirical twist. Storytelling, understated humour, and deep reflection are at the heart of my practice.
- Richard Ahnert
In Talk, we are invited to sit at the table with an endangered panda bear, in the warm glow of soft light. The sentence “We need to talk”, is an all too familiar trope of warning that a serious discussion is about to ensue. Though the news may be bad, the tenderness in this painting contrasted with the colourful table cloth of tropical fruits, sets a scene for a discussion that perhaps doesn’t have to end off-keel, and will instead present a space of caring.
Through inventive storytelling, Ahnert’s use of anthropomorphism allows us to recognize that we are a part of the animal world – he brings that realization even farther home as he connects us on an emotional level of camaraderie with the creatures that share our Canadian wilderness.
- Tiffany April, Curator
What We Know So Far Catalogue
Richard Ahnert graduated with honors from the Arts York Program at Unionville HS with a Major in Visual Arts and went on to study Technical Illustration and Graphic Design at York University and Seneca College, graduating with the Presidents Honor Roll for Highest Academic Achievement. With a drive to explore and evolve as an artist, He continues studies and workshops on an ongoing basis to help define his style and practice.
Richard began exhibiting his work in 2010 and has shown in exhibitions and galleries in both Canada and the United States. His awarded work can be found in private collections and businesses in North America, Europe and Australia.