Growing up in the Canadian Prairie landscape I always felt like a speck in a vast, magnificent playground; alone but part of a grand plan. I would ride for miles along dirt roads, cutting across wheat and bright yellow canola fields, navigating through sudden sun showers below black skies. The land, the sky and me were parallel worlds, equally fantastic, and co-mingling. Expressing these remarkable shifts of light is what consumes my imagination.
All of my paintings have their roots in these primal experiences. Capturing the vibrations between what hovers above and below is what inspires my work. As an artist I commit myself to a poetic dance in the immeasurable; that place of equanimity between matter and spirit. Because these ideas exist between what is real and what is suggestive they are impossible to describe, but the contemplations are endless.
The horizon figures prominently in these paintings, and the parallel lines that play against each other is a pivotal compositional juncture. Playful parallel lines vibrate against each other between the sky and land and sea,pushing and pulling the eye back and forth, simultaneously separating the voids and uniting them. As suggested by the romantic painters and, in particular, Caspar David Friedrich's evocative seascapes with people contemplating the endless ocean, we are always testing ourselves within the natural world. And in this way, we are standing on the threshold of something greater than ourselves, constantly shifting from outer or inner states.
In these paintings there are delicate shifts and plays of light and dark, motion and stillness, the calm and the restless, hidden places and open atmospheric spaces. The horizon, which is the threshold, is highly charged. This is where I spend the most amount of time. The parallel lines invite the eye in and, at other times, they can impede the sight lines. It is that place that evokes the shifts between our physical and spiritual realities, the co-mingling of matter and spirit. Horizon lines are illusions in themselves. We imagine that we can see them, or reach that point where they ultimately touch, but, in reality, that point does not exist. It is an invented mark for an ambiguous state.
Painting for me is both an intuitive and formal process; it is all about giving poetry a physical presence. I like to look at the outer world with my inner eye, moving between the abstract and the real, the gestural and the descriptive. I create evocative places. The viewer can explore their inner world with their outer eye, bringing in their unique experiences and visual history into the exchange. Giacometti said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity”.
These are among the largest pieces I have ever created. The intention is to invite the viewer to step in and contemplate fully. In my language, the paint is applied in delicate layers expressing parallel tensions between the concrete and the ambiguous. Translucent skins of paint evoke the delicate inter-connectedness of atmosphere and light. Sometimes the paint is applied thick and with great gesture, other times it is applied with the softest brush in a very delicate touch. This tension is critical to my painterly expression. I believe that meaning in a painting, like all poetry, occurs between what the artist invents, and what is invited into the work through juxtaposition.
As a child growing up on the prairies, I always felt like a speck in a vast magnificent playground. All of my paintings have their roots in this primal experience. I am constantly reflecting on the delicate and strong balance of the earth’s equilibrium. The horizon line has become a pivotal compositional point in my paintings, which are rooted in my childhood experiences of space. As human beings we are always standing at the threshold of something greater than ourselves, constantly shifting from one outer or inner state to another. In these paintings there is a delicate dance along the horizon lines suggesting this threshold of transformation and the shifts of our physical and spiritual realities, co-mingling matter and spirit. Horizon lines are illusions in themselves: we can see them and they look like we can approach them, but in reality as we try to approach them they always remain out of reach. The line we think we see doesn’t actually exist in nature, the horizon line is a symbol invented to describe the in-between place of sky and land or sea and sky; it is an invented mark for an ambiguous state, or liminal space.