May 20 – June 11, 2017
Opening Reception: May 21, 2 – 5 PM
What do we experience as we look out the side window driving along a ribbon of highway that cuts through a heavily wooded landscape? What do we remember? The woods might seem undifferentiated, one thicket resembling the next. These investigations represent a closer look, and yield differentiations.
In my previous body of work, thousands of pictures taken of the ocean yielded a few dozen paintings. Looking at the edge of the woods while driving through the Ontario countryside, I began to discern the possibility of a parallel discourse between landscape compositions and my seascapes. I began taking pictures. Again, hundreds of pictures taken at the side of the road have yielded a handful of paintings so far. I am drawn to photographing thickets. I then examine the captures of gestural entanglements of branches and foliage looking for reveals that resonate with my aesthetic. “Remnants” was produced from a capture taken in the Muskokas; “Overgrowth” is from Magnetawan. While I was parked on the edge of the road when I took these photos, “The Melaleuca Tree” was from a lucky capture taken on my iPhone while I was a passenger speeding along Alligator Alley through the Everglades.
While most of the images in this show are from investigations along the side of the road, as this discourse unfolded, I began to glimpse offerings to the discourse while watching Netflix. As a result, some of the images are worked up from screen captures taken with my iPhone. “An Event in Autumn” was produced from a scene from “Wallander”, and the title of the painting is from title of the episode. Likewise, “11.22.63” was produced after the TV miniseries bearing the same name. The main character, played by James Franco, is about to enter the house and confront a murderous and jealous husband. However, if the viewer does not know any of this, then what do the images signify?
When we see an unoccupied vehicle parked on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, what does that signify? What if the vehicle happens to be an old and rusted 4X4 pick-up? What if it’s a late model Mini Cooper?
Overarching everything, the woods are habitats for animals. Driving through Ontario, we might be lucky enough to see a deer, or a moose, or a bear. The woods are also scenes of recreational activity. We see points of ingress for hunters and hikers and nature lovers. But the woods are also sometimes scenes of trauma. Bad things happen there. Searches are organized for missing persons, missing women, lost children. The woods are a place to hide. Crime scenes are found. There are bear attacks. And anyone who has ever experienced trauma in the woods, or who has ever been lost in the woods, knows just how quickly the idyllic can quake and shift, and all that was beautiful and light and colour just a moment before, suddenly becomes sinister and menacing and dark.
While remnants, markers, titles, and other associations and evidences signify events in these landscape paintings, it is also the case that they represent nothing of any singular significance at all, and that they are only that which they seem to be – differentiated locations along the side of the road.
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