A reluctant fulcrum of balance and cooperation

About Art, By Janice Guinan

Published on August 13, 2014
A self-portrait by Ed Huner, one of the PLANS (Professional Living Artist of Nova Scotia) artists in the Across the Surface Exhibition opening in Truro on Sept. 5.

Ed Huner isn’t afraid to change reality to conform to his sense of order

Ed Huner holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has been exhibiting his figurative paintings since 1978.

Huner has been a fine art instructor at universities in Nova Scotia and with the New Brunswick Community College System. His work is represented in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Art Bank, as well as private and corporate collections and he’s an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists.

He resides in Musquodoboit Harbour at Martinique Beach, Nova Scotia.

On the eve of his works showing at the McCarthy Gallery as part of the PLANS show, he sat down to tell us something of his work.


Q. How did you start making art? Why do you make art?

I grew up in a small rural village in southern Ontario where neither the elementary school nor high school had a formal art program. I was a very disinterested academic student and my grades clearly reflected this.

The only thing I did that seemed to get noticed and praised was my drawing projects. In high school my painting attempts were accepted to the annual county fair art shows.

When I started to explore the possibility of art as a career, my high school guidance teacher told me to forget it. She believed artists were never successful until they were dead.

I certainly knew about the Group of Seven Painters, but it was not until I had the opportunity to visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York that I understood art was more than painting; art was a wonderful idea!

I thought I might have the courage to try it.


Q. What themes do you pursue?

It’s unlikely most painters consciously use identifiers such as realism. My paintings are figurative. I’m a studio painter.

I have a personal interest in how we look at a painting, the physiology of looking and comprehension; how we visually pull it all together into an idea. I test and challenge this by taking disparate images (figures and landscapes typically) and trying to make them cooperate into a plausible and interesting arrangement.

My rendering is intentionally suggestive, indefinite and provocative. My hope is the viewer will bring something of their imagination and life experience to my painting and complete the narrative, making the painting uniquely theirs to enjoy.


Q. How do you work?

My camera is a very important tool. It records landscapes that are interesting to me. It records memories of a particular place and at a particular time. I use photographic images to support and enhance my memory.

Drawing from a live model is another important tool. The intense observation, constant adjustment and correction of my drawing are an important creative process for me. I don’t paint from a posed model. I use my life drawing studies, not unlike my landscape photographs, as a reference.

For my creative process, design is everything. I will alter all subject matter to conform to my peculiar sense of order. I don’t hesitate to deviate from drawings and photographs to achieve a reluctant fulcrum of balance and cooperation.

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art.