Art Noise Gallery, Kingston ON 02 July - 06 August 2020
Despite overwhelming evidence of crises from climate change to social injustice to pandemic, many governments around the world seem unable/unwilling to act even as democracy is under threat and truth-telling stifled. Individuals feel powerless to enact change.
As Shakespeare's Lear knows, the naked body is an enduring symbol of human vulnerability and helplessness; it can also, however, represent beauty, grace and love, an aesthetic of salvation. The female nude for me is at once surrogate seeker of truth and object of scrutiny. In my work the female figure is both self and other; she represents communication and compassion.
Time/Lines is about my search for understanding and hope. Time attempts perspective and philosophizes from a distance, while Lines finds energy in the rhythms and routines of daily life.
The Seasons series is a project I started 40 years ago and brought to a close just this year. In these large canvases the figure is solitary and self-absorbed; she is at once dominant in brooding presence and withdrawn in mood, wrapped in uncertainty.
“Dreaming ICU”, the Winter 2020 piece which closes the series, is anomalous in that the figure is inconspicuous. This work ties in to my Nereids sequence of paintings wherein a tiny pair of figures – their size symbolizing the humility needed to connect – explore distant lands and seas, real and imagined.
Life drawing is essential to my art. I need these sessions to loosen my hand and free my mind; if I go too long without them, my work tightens. With each one I generate numerous drawings and paintings which accumulate in a drawer, although in many ways they represent my best work.
For this show I mounted them on panels treated with coloured gesso rather than confine them in frames, in some cases exploring further with paint to develop an inherent complexity of expression. Lines celebrates especially the gesture drawings, those 30-second sketches done before longer poses; they have the vitality, purpose and direction to inspire us now.