Monday, December 24, 2012

Viva La Vida

AGO finally got it right this year. Picasso was a fiasco from a curatorial point of view.
Dot Tuer the curator and a professor at OCADU treated this exhibit with a sensitivity that allowed Frida and Diego to shine through both as individuals and the inseparables they were in life. She shows us how Artists committed to a life of inner expression are not making art as something they do but as something they are.
Frida spent much of her adult life escaping the burden of her fractured physical existence and through her struggle shows that there is so much of us beyond our bodies.
Diego, many of us now would look at him as nothing more than a misogynistic womanizer, and a communist thug. He was though a man seeking more than the surface had to offer. He looked at politics, sex, and art as equal parts of the soup that makes us human. He felt no guilt for any action he committed because he needed to transcend the ordinary to express the sublime in any human phenomena.
 Frida expressed  the body  as a burden to triumph over in order to see the truth of being human. She deconstructed it's skin and bones to show us what lies bare beneath. Her visual realization of the self is as a mere visage. I look into her self portrait with Diego blended into her forehead with traditional wedding garb framing her head, cracks striking her and I feel the complete Frida engaging me.
Diego saw political oppression as an oppression that dug deep into the peasants worn hands. He was a man sympathetic to all others that were trapped by their inner struggles. Their struggles to live with dignity. Something I note in his work was the absence of church in a society whose Catholicism ran deeper than memory served. Who was the oppressor then, the dictatorship of politics or religion? He leaves that up to us to decide.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Still - 1

Oil on canvas, 36" x 48", 2012
 Still is not always so still

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More Tundra

We are all familiar with and embrace the history of the Inuit vision a is illustrated in the beauty of their art. Their vision of the transformation of animal to human and vice versa as a subject matter in their work has intrigued me for many years. Now there is another transformation taking place, that of the land. My purpose in this project is to explore the environmental change and how I interpret it with southern visual language.
I myself feel a distinct disconnect from the effects of the changing global climate on the north where it is the most dramatic. Here in a growing city in the south I do notice a change, but the effect on my daily life is negligible. I'm Canadian and should by definition be sensitive to what north means other than a point on a compass. This is indeed virgin territory for me.
I strongly feel that this is a perfect albeit lamenting time to look at the north with a visually examining eye. We need a visual record of the environmental revolution taking place, its' effect upon the land and all that walk upon it, the ocean and all that lives in it, and the sky and all that flies through it.
It is essential that an awareness of the changing north is seen by us in the south from as many angles as possible. We have all seen reports in the media. People like Dr. David Suzuki have been instrumental in cultivating that awareness. I see the task at hand  as taking the awareness into the realm of the creative. To visually portray the effect our progress is having upon a place that is as ancient as the earth itself, to see the effect upon the human and animal inhabitants that have lived with and of the land since time immemorial.
The scope of The Tundra Project shall have two facets. The first will be large scale paintings made out on the land. The paintings will provide both of our cultures an opportunity to see the north as it is changing with southern visual language. The second will be of a documentary video to chronicle the process of the project and those bearing witness to it as well as their reflections upon it.
The process of the project will entail propping the working surface of full sheets of plywood,(8' x 4') against built easel structures out on the land facing the plein air subject. Besides the painted imagery I will also employ a router to carve out dream images that relate to the painted composition, as I have done in past paintings. The paint itself, (oil) will be applied using a number of brushes, scrapers, rollers and whatever else seems fitting for each piece.
In keeping with past works the resulting pieces will neither be photo real nor abstract but a distinctive hybrid. As far as how many paintings will be executed I will only know after the beginning of the series, but I do plan on taking approximately 2 months to complete the project.

I plan on employing an Inuit film maker for the project. The film maker will have complete creative freedom as I want the project to  be witnessed through northern eyes, This element of the project is critical to the successful marriage of north and south. There would also be a marriage of languages mixing of both Inuktitut and English, a further enhancement of the project.
As I have never been to our youngest province I'm sure there will be some tactical hurdles to get over. Finding a studio to store the work and supplies is one that immediately comes to mind. Not to mention a place to live for 6 -8 weeks.
My research so far is bearing some early fruit as I have been making contact with some very helpful people in Rankin Inlet. Already I have been in contact with one possible film maker for the documentary. There is of course a lot more work to be done. As is evidenced by the breadth of my portfolio and persisting length of my career hard work has never been an obstacle that I could not deal with.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Still Life With Pear & Fish

Still Life With Pear & Fish, Oil On Canvas, 16" x 16", 2012

Even in stillness there is life...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Condoronto 5

Condoronto crumbles as dollars pour in...

Condoronto 5, Oil on canvas, 36" x 48"

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Tundra Project

I somehow lament for the north, a place I have never tread upon yet here I am with plans of making the trek to paint the land and all who live upon paint the arctic waters and all who live within paint the forever sky and and all who take flight through it...and the ice melting - changing forever what the north will become...
First though comes finding the money and all the planning...will it be gov't grants or private sponsorship that sees me propping great sheets of plywood on the tundra surface...revving up my router to gouge out impressions and layer on thick and thin gobs of paint as I watch it all pass before have an Inuit videographer record the whole process for others to know...this is all a dream I wake to often... this is the work I need to do to see it through...

Condoronto 1

Condoronto 1 Oil On Canvas, 36" x 48"

Through the mire of building gone mad condoronto arises.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This afternoon

So on this spring day in January I wandered into AGO, not to see anything in particular, but just to wander aimlessly. I found myself oddly enough amongst all things Canadian, blown away as usual by a piece by Paterson Ewen who inspired me to take up the router in my own work, I came across a piece of nostalgia. A rather large piece by Fred Varley, a member of our own Group of 7 titled Liberation. One might see it as a ghostly representation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I see it as a resurrection for all. My nostalgia comes from spending countless hours sitting in front of this painting when it was in it's own alcove back in the 1970's. It moved me then and it moved me today...