Taking up various styles and compositional strategies, the work of Deryk Houston displays a mastery over the art of painting and reveals a distinctly Canadian aesthetic. The content of his paintings take up the tangled webs revealed by the forest floor, the quiet calm of a freshly plowed field or the light one experiences when walking among a sun-lit path. Attentive to the subtle changes in light, color, and how they effect visuality, one discovers a similar sense of illumination when light passes through stained glass. In his paintings Houston evokes this sense of wonder and amazement, documenting the landscape in traditional yet contemporary ways.
Deryk Houston is a prolific artist and humanitarian based in Victoria, BC, Canada. He has studied art in Canada and abroad, at the L’Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. Houston has travelled extensively to create large land art installations as a form of activism. Most notably are his earthen works in Iraq, Canada and Scotland, in support of children’s rights. In 2002, the Iraqi foreign minister of culture offered to aid Houston in the creation of an right foot bronze sculpture to be created in Baghdad and moved to a peace sanctuary in Hope, BC. In 2003, the National Film Board of Canada created a documentary about this peace sanctuary titled “From Baghdad to Peace Country.”
Deryk Houston has exhibited his paintings in numerous solo exhibitions in various prestigious galleries including Art Works Gallery in Vancouver, BC, the Canada House Gallery in Banff, Alberta, Gracefield Public Art Gallery in Scotland and the International Institute of Boston, MA. Houston’s work has also been accepted into numerous permanent collections of museums such as the Baghdad Arts Center, Iraq and the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, ON.
In his most recent body of work, Deryk has connected with Woodwyn Farms, a charitable organization that utilizes therapeutic farming methods to give homeless people the support and tools to reclaim their self-worth. Committed to changing one small corner of our world, Deryk has built a peace garden at Woodwyn Farms and continues to support this organization through his painting practice and his most recent exhibition at Art Works Gallery in 2016.
“In my work I am searching for peace and trying to understand why we are here. Cycles of life, generations, seeds and community are important factors in my work. War fascinates and saddens me because, as history has observed, it is very easy to make a ghost. Through my work, I am questioning the perceived distance between good and bad, such as scientific study that can lead to creation of both bombs and medicine. These equations feature in my paintings as a symbol for this flaw of logic that is likely to be evident in all of us at some time. Producing art work is my way of coping with these realities.”