Figurative Work

My figurative works are driven by textured, layered surfaces–which speak of the passage of time, transformation and survival; a sense of whimsy brings importance to surviving tragic events in life. Personal symbols used in the work are not the familiar emblems of mainstream iconography, but intensely personal, private, obscure and ambiguous references. The imagery depicts interpretation of more than specific cultures—it represents universal human experiences: memory, the body as a corporeal vessel, mark-making, ephemeral feelings, ritual and honouring. Often images are sewn together, tentative stitches connecting us and mending our hurts.

The figures appeared in 1998 out of a wish to create simplified, elemental human figures. There is an obvious link to my graduation work at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where I created an installation of larger than human sized pods and feathers (“What we now know is so little, what me might know so vast” as the main part of my thesis work). The pod/ seed/ellipsis shape can be seen in the propellers of the Powdermoth figures, the openings of vessels, the canoes, many of the flower buds, and it is one of my personal symbols. For some years, bowls and vessels have also held a special attraction for me. It is a natural evolution in interest from the pods of past years. But also from studying our bodies as vessels for life.

Many things in our lives are vessels, even a situation full with interpretation can so often be devoid and empty of meaning. There is a definite Far Eastern influence in the work—however, its origins are subconscious.

The central images of the work are created on handmade paper using a reverse batik/encaustic technique that I developed. They are then mounted to wooden panels and painted with acrylics.

Layers of time and experiences inform the current state of who we are – layers of meaning and interpretation add to the perception of the whole. Inspiration comes to me through the layering of physical experiences, technical skills in handling materials, absorbing teachings of various thinkers and my intuition. Listening to my internal voice, a fragment of life catches my imagination, my mind wants to know more, seeking knowledge about its structure, texture, feeling, weight, smell, visuals; researching the elements history and historical significance, evoking my personal meaning.