Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reflections so far...

"Night Danger", 2012, 24" x 36", acrylic on wrapped canvas
It just occurred to me that it’s been a while since I wrote anything on this blog. At the end of 2011, I realized that doing three solo exhibitions in one year took a lot out of me from a spiritual standpoint. I was starting to incorporate a lot of black in my work and even did a large painting of a moose at night, barely noticeable except for a dim outline of its body, the light reflecting from its eyes and the “Night Danger” sign at the side of the highway! Unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice... After I completed this one (which I actually really love), I knew I was a bit drained but that I was also craving a little humour in my work. I’m OK and still working on stuff but understand that I need occasional breaks from creating heady art with serious symbolic, spiritual or historical significance.
Recently, I started a new, large work that incorporates symbolism and narrative but I’ve also been interrupting myself to have fun with small paintings and simpler subject matter. It turns out that my style has become affected by my desire to relax my mind even though I haven’t really changed my actual technique. My friend, Sandra, actually commented on it before I even noticed. This recent work is indeed looser and freer. I’m also playing with shapes and angles more than ever before, and not dwelling so much on details although I still really like a pop of colour, or a hint of mystery. In the work I exhibited last year, most of the subject matter was front and center. The reason being is that I wanted to present a concept or idea head on for a direct conversation with the viewer.  The current small pieces I’m working on are all about injecting a bit of narrative  – nothing too serious, maybe even humorous, but just enough to let your mind wander to create a story without getting complicated.
"We used to get real snowbanks", 2012
6" x 8" x 1.5", acrylic on wood panel
I’ve heard that some curators don’t like it when artists start playing around with what looks like a different style. Apparently, they want consistent progression across the board. That might be fine for some artists but I can’t help but want to explore. No matter what I do will come from my own hand and therefore will have my imprint on it. Maybe it just means that collectors and art historians will have to wait until they see my ENTIRE body of work after I die to make the connections.  Until then, my creativity comes from what I’m feeling, living and experiencing in life. Ultimately, I want to paint the work that reflects the various parts of me and the changing world around me. While I respect my heritage and am proud of the sober work I’ve produced, there are other things in my life that make me who I am as a person and as an artist. My art is as much a reflection of my own well-being as it is a reflection of the stories I want to tell or the world as I see it (or want to see it). Right now, as much as I want to complete the big, symbolic, narrative painting, I also want to indulge in some witty creative exploration. I hope you’ll enjoy it too! :)