I spent many years following in the footsteps of likes of Cy Twombly. My paintings were cryptic scribblings, disjointed mark making, suggesting a person or a place. I started painting what look like cities from above in 2005. My first was crude and geometric, the colour palette was dark, earthy and muted with small bits of bright pink. Soon after, friends who visited the studio bought the painting so I made a few more. Those sold so I made several more, each more detailed than the last. I showed them in a small project space on Queen Street East in Toronto and more than half of them sold. I figured I was onto something.
My paintings now fall into one of a few categories. While each is similar in style and technique, they are quite different in look an feel depending on colours and values. The muted white paintings immediately call up memories of Canadian winter landscapes or of sleepy utopias. Some are literal interpretations of cities while others suggest a mental abstracted landscape, yet still suggesting the viewer is hovering over the scenery. A personal lexicon started to emerge. Village in-roads, farming fields and bridges captured my imagination, and I discovered I was revisiting landscape through technologies in a non-traditional way.
Canadian Art has a long history of landscape painting. While many artists have historically submitted that the spirit of Canadian art lies in the land, there is a faction who contended that the spirit of Canadian art lies in the mind of the artist and in the culture of the people. This gives birth to Canadian abstract art. In my work I have tried to honour both traditions and merge these long time disparate schools of thought. While I do not always try to literally depict cities and neighbourhoods, I often aim to capture the bustling motion and excitement of a busy urban environment. I like using colours and patterns found in the architectural vernacular of a city and try to capture its essence as seen from above. As an Artist interested in urban development and sustainability, the hive-like structures we build up around us and our own insect like behaviour within these structures fascinate me. I seek to recreate the animated gestures of these ever vibrating landscapes, striking a balance and harmony between the rigid man-made infrastructures and the organic and fluid way of the earth’s natural geography. In creating these paintings I hope to evoke the same lively feelings one gets when flying into a new big city for the first time when we try to take everything in or the lasting impressions stored in our memories of traveling anywhere far from home.
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