My work has always explored elements of nature—not romanticized vistas of national parks—but the grimy nature that coexists with a sprawling human population in urban environments. I aim to elicit our primal human response to nature, on a strictly visual level, in a culture that has withdrawn from the wild. Photo perfect scenic landscapes fail—only stimulus that resonates on a more profound level can provoke the same reaction.
In my attempts to understand this reaction and what triggers it, the realm of migration and patterns of habitation come into play. The adaptation of humans, flora and fauna who reflect each other’s struggle as they settle into different environments and conform to new systems of existence.
My recent work ties in to my relocation back to my place of birth, Hamilton, ON. This city challenges me, with its complex history and population and the speed at which its landscape changes.
Negative space This series includes detailed, large-scale studies of my personal Hamilton landmarks—places that stand out for me. The painstaking technique I employ in these paintings slows me down and forces me to look at things in the minutest detail. Rather than painting the actual natural objects, I paint the negative space that surrounds them. To my eye, this approach results in a quiver that conveys a sense of life (2015-2016)
43°14'52.9"N - 79°49'52.6"W
Thirty-six, small studies of my physical surroundings.
Four weeks to prepare.
No art making in two years.
Make all new work.
Within property lines.
My position on the front porch: 43°14¢52.9²N -79°49¢52.6²W
portraits In 2007, my painting took an unexpected turn into the realm of portraiture: the people who fit into the environmental puzzle; our features, expressions and body types that so often hark to our geographical backgrounds. Portraits have provided incredibly intimate understandings of the people close to me–family and friends who in many ways define my place in this world. .
mouth of the credit
Sketches and large-scale paintings that respond to the primal human attraction
to water. Within walking distance of where I live, I stand at the shoreline
of Lake Ontario and the water heightens my senses; it compels me to explore,
surround, and immerse myself. Lost in the rhythmic patterns of the lake's
ebb and flow, I contemplate the life that exists beneath the water's skin
of surface tension. Entranced by the force of waves as they crash against
the shore, I endeavor to capture the lake’s power in paint. (1999)
small scale sketches, created during a month of train travel from Toronto
to the West Coast of Canada, trace glimpses of the landscape as winter
turned to spring. Most often depicting solid landmarks amidst changing
ground covers, new plant growth, ice and the raging coast water of the
Pacific Ocean. (2001)
large scale canvases distilled from the Stasis series that switched the
focus from the solid stable landmarks to the continuous flow of change
that surrounded them. (2002)
Small scale paintings on raw linen that document a historical perennial
garden, eighty-six years of nurturing that had fallen to ruin in its last
season, before ground was broken for a housing development. The responsibility
to perpetuate the gardens' existence, to document nature imprinted by
humanity, spurred me to capture every plant and flower that appeared in
Lilliane’s garden in its final summer. (1999)
Mixed media on a cold-rolled steel ground that brings a raw heaviness
to illusive images of shadows and shimmers of light reflected on the interior
of a historic house, my home for six months, slated for demolition. These
windows, understood as an opening in a solid wall, or as an area of space,
rather than as a solid object themselves, still remain, though the house
has fallen. (1998)
the trees series
“…to deny the ability of a tree
to inform and even instruct one’s awareness, is to have turned
one’s senses away… it is to ponder the tree from outside
of its world, or, rather, from outside of the world in which both oneself
and the tree are active participants.”
David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
Protesting the destruction of old
growth forests deepened my apprecation of the life intrinsic to all trees.
I joined and initiated grassroots efforts to protect endangered trees
in the GTA with little expectation of preventing their demise, only the
hope of heightening public awareness.
I stood between trees and men with screaming chainsaws. Trees that groaned
as they let go their roots. Boles and outstretched boughs thundered to
the earth where the ground shuddered and quaked from their impact. The
sweet salty smell of spilled sap shocked my senses with its poignant similarity
to our own blood and tears. Engulfed in a silent void, where no birds
or animals dared remain, the sensation of loss overcame me. My initial
empathy developed into a physical and spiritual kinship with these stoic
monoliths. (1997 - 2006)
of tongues in trees
began during the months of winter, when many trees’ bared skeletons
reveal crude attempts to make them fit human desires. Months of photographing
led me to a stand of poplars that have withstood repeated assaults, assaults
that reduced them to stumps. Yet the poplars prevailed and now form a
hedgerow stretching almost twenty feet into the sky. In the scars of their
severed limbs I found the imprint of life paths not followed. These trees,
and their scars, provide the subject for most of the paintings in this