Rare Birds and Strange Bedfellows

I have been working like a maniac and eating sardines like there’s no tomorrow. WHY?

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The following is my artist’s statement:

I know the following things laid side by side are responsible for this fleet of boats/altars/windows.

A young man casually pulls out his folding fan on a stifling train ride between Rome and Naples.

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Maltese fishing boat
Tiny blue fishing boats in earnest blues and gothic arches moored at a Maltese wharf look like altars–windows to another world. Walls of ornate glass boxed reliquaries in a lonely Sicilian monastery contain beautified bits of saints. My own mementos are burned on the bonfire of an ex.

Obviously I was traveling recently. And when traveling, one tends to use whatever material is at hand for art-making and I guess I ate more than my share of canned fish. The tins make wonderful frames and with their allusions to things silvery and densely packed, they have since become natural containers for my art. These boats are packages of valuable stuff saved, compressed; precious and endangered things folded in on themselves and packed like sardines. They allude to survival by migration, physical and spiritual journeys, they can be seen as symbols of the Church, they are scoopfuls of water baled out of a larger boat, they are bottled messages thrown out to sea. They are short prayers, poetic as packed suitcases. They are reliquaries. In a sense they are the result of an artist residency I took part in on that same trip near Naples Italy. When I returned home, I folded the drawings I did during that month into tiny accordions until they fit into sardine cans. Beside them are folded watercolour paintings and linoleum prints, remnants of recipes. The glass boat shape goes on last and encapsulates these strange bedfellows.

 

It is my pleasure to share this show at the David Kaye Gallery with my good friend, neighbour and extraordinary ceramic artist, Ann Cummings: 

ANN CUMMINGS: “This body of new work was inspired by my admiration of an 18th century Derby porcelain that I saw at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto and then subsequently many more pieces at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. The Derby works, to my mind, are delightfully charming and rather frivolous. I felt a kinship with those works and they proved to be a vehicle for the direction that I was compelled to follow.
My works are imagined landscapes. They represent both my joy and delight in nature and also my sorrow, grief and fear for the ongoing destruction of our environment. These are assemblages of chaos and a warning to take care of the land. My sculptural works are also an homage to my dearly departed husband and ultimately to the landscape that we found together where we loved and lived.
I feel there is a strange beauty all around me and yet conversely there is uncertainty and a disarray of the natural landscape with the possibility of its demise. This dichotomy of nature and my surrounding landscape are two opposing sides of beauty and wonder, as well as fear and destruction, that all makes for strange bedfellows.”

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Tradition

I don’t have very many markers of time. One of the few is my yearly solo show in my studio  on whatever weekend Easter happens to fall. This year it is March 25,26, and 27. 

  This show started as a way of coping (and perhaps avoiding) difficult family gatherings. More importantly, it has always been a quiet way to celebrate my faith in a way that includes my art. Especially appropriate to Easter, I am training to serve the chalice in the Anglican Church I go to. John, the priest was naming all of the components and for the first time I learned about the piscina, which is a little plate in the corner where any leftover consecrated wine and bread are put and then thrown outside where the wine can soak into the earth and the birds can eat the bread. The part about the birds moved me: the innocence of sparrows snacking on holy communion crumbs. Such small bits of hope.  

 I hope you come to my show. It’s an offering of sorts. There will be small constructed paintings of lively flocks and striped cats, tornado sculptures, linoprints and etchings. Most of these things are for sale: the show itself is a gift. 1-5 each day or email to make an appointment if you would rather do that. This show is in my studio in the tiny village of Utica: 14260 Marsh Hill Road.  

Cat watching birds

The tornado that turned into a cat:

Sleeping cats
Twister unwinds.

Cats?! It was a cold winter. My studio is a short walk from my house. My little house is easy to heat: the high ceiling in my stFile 2015-05-09, 9 59 57 PMudio resists warmth. I spent most of the winter sidled up to my wood stove. I would look at the chair across from me to see my cat had the same idea. I soon found myself drawing him. It seemed silly at first but my cat is a tabby and as soon as I added colour to his stripes, I saw the connection     between my cat and my tornados.

It was a cold winter.
It was a cold winter.

I drew him sleeping, curled into himself and there was another connection. He was like looking into the top of a tornado. And cats, as everyone knows, are bundles of energy waiting to leap. The more I drew him, the more I sensed he was a resting storm, a dormant tornado with muscles ready to cause havoc. The cat is, in a sense, a personified tornado and  the answer to my tornado problem. A tornado signifies homelessness; a cat, more than anything, signifies home.

More cat paintings here.