Artist statement

My work in oil painting focuses on an abstract or landscape based ground on which a figurative image or motif is painted or stencilled. The interaction between solitary, vanquished animals and industrial structures or motifs has narrative import. In a poetic and painterly way, the images are meant to suggest that the effect of human activity, as symbolized by industrial structures, leads to the loss of habitat and species extinction. For example, the title for my retrospective exhibition and catalogue at the Owens Art Gallery, A journey over the river Styx, was a metaphor for our current trajectory or a one way journey to the nether world.

I am concerned with the visceral, sensuous, and expressive potential of paint, for example, when a brush fully loaded with paint moves across the slightly pebbled surface of the canvas. My life long aesthetic preoccupations with colour and patterning have led to an interest in the stripes, spots and patterning of exotic and domestic animals. Motifs and images are chosen for their ability to energize or interact with the ground; for their suggestive or evocative potential; and in the case of animals, for their presence — either a sense of imminent threat or fragility. I strive for a spontaneous and intuitive approach and for a dynamic interaction of figure and ground within a painterly surface or for animal to surface decorative space.

My work has been exhibited recently in the group exhibition Portraits: New Brunswick Painters, New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, NB and Site/Specific/Sight, Marion McCain Atlantic Art Exhibition 2007, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB and in a solo exhibition, A journey over the river Styx, Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, NB, 2006. Dark Forces at Mount Allison University, an essay on activist art has been published in Public Art in Canada: Critical Perspectives, edited by Annie Gerin and James S. McLean, University of Toronto Press, 2009.

In addition to painting, my artistic production includes several mixed media installations using sound, video and sculptural elements: In Memory Of..., 2000; Female Troubles, 1999; and In Search of Medusa, 1995. In 1986, I was awarded a major commission for a large scale kinetic sculpture for the Canada Pavilion at Expo' 86 in Vancouver, British Columbia. I received a Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University in 1972, and was a Professor of Fine Arts at Mount Allison University where I taught painting, drawing, and seminar courses in contemporary art issues from 1980 to 2009.

March 2010