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Visual Eastport artist holds first solo exhibit

As Eastport artist Danny Henderson geared up for his first solo exhibition, he was quick to express his excitement about sharing his work with the public.

Henderson, who split his childhood between Eastport and the United States and spends part of the year living in his grandparent's former Eastport home, has had his work featured for the month of March in the art gallery of the Joseph R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre.

As Eastport artist Danny Henderson geared up for his first solo exhibition, he was quick to express his excitement about sharing his work with the public.

Henderson, who split his childhood between Eastport and the United States and spends part of the year living in his grandparent's former Eastport home, has had his work featured for the month of March in the art gallery of the Joseph R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre.

The closing reception will take place today.

Henderson's work is noticeably abstract, with no hint of any traditional figures or settings within - you would be hard pressed to spot a dory, church or tree in any of them.

However, he also does some representational pieces, and works with photography and sculptures.

His interest in art came from his grandparents, who collected art to display in their Eastport home. His grandfather, Daniel Fradd, was the founder of Allied Aviation.

"My grandmother (Rita Fradd) also took me to visit galleries and museums," said Henderson, who lives in White Plains, N.Y., when he's not in Eastport.

The exposure at an early age eventually led to painting in his early 30s.

"It's an enjoyable activity I can do anywhere, and it's like a vehicle to express myself. There's something about the creation process."

'Neo plastic staging'

For his own abstract artwork, falling under what he called "neo plastic staging," tries to make the uninteresting interesting, he said.

A piece featured on the poster for the event, called "Spherical U Under Attack," is an example of this.

The use of primary colours hints at the art forum of neo plasticism, which was founded by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.

But where neo plasticism also makes use of precise, rigid line formations, Henderson's piece flows a bit more freely.

It almost looks comparable to the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock, though the splashes of red, blue, yellow and black do have vaguely linear qualities.

Long process

Henderson said he prefers working on paintings over a lengthy period of time, coming back to them as he sees fit.

"I'm not crazy about accumulating works or having works I'm not totally happy with hanging around," he said. "If something is bothering me, or the whole thing is bothering me, I'll work on it again. I'll walk away and come back to it."

Thus the "staging" part of his art label. The pieces are worked on in stages, yet also represent stages of his life.

Abstract art, he said, can be inspired by natural surroundings, as is often the case with his own work, but without necessarily providing a jump-off point.

His objective for the show was to ignite something in people.

"It's a stepping stone. After working on art for 12 years, I've been in group shows, but this body of work is kind of like an exercise to involve yourself more in what you do. I think you can grow by having a show," he said.

Henderson said there's been feelings of uncertainty over how his work will be received, but added the experience should give him the energy to get better and continue to strengthen his work.

As a venue, Henderson said he is grateful for having the art gallery at the arts and culture centre in Gander as an option for displaying his artwork.

"I think it's great how it's used," said Henderson, adding he hopes the show will open opportunities for him to display his art in other parts of the province.

The Beacon

Geographic location: Eastport, United States, White Plains, N.Y. Gander

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