“Within Alex Colville’s works, the primary element that has always stuck out to me is the distinct sense of unease and subtle anxiety he is able to infuse into every painting, despite otherwise mundane subject matter. In my mind, this is what makes him so distinctive, and the reason his works linger in our minds long after we have seen them. Inherently, pool change rooms are uncomfortable spaces, both in their grime, their hard benches, and the inherent vulnerability of their purpose. As someone who grew up regularly going to public pools, the subtle yet distinct uneasiness within a change room environment, especially as a young person, has long captured my imagination. Using a compositional style inspired by Colville, with one figure looking away and the other glancing back at the viewer, I wanted to address the timeless embarrassment, liminality, and above all unease of the adolescent experience.”
—Sophia De Graaf (Grade 12, Glenforest Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario)
Beloved Maritimes artist Alex Colville (1920–2013) is celebrated for achieving an iconic style of painting marked by unified brushwork and carefully arranged compositions that convey symbolism in mundane encounters.