It’s been about a week since the Opening Reception for my newest works, “CONTACT”, and looking back there’s a lot to be grateful for, and a lot of learning. I think that the best way to express my sentiments about the show and everything leading up to it is to first share the statement for this body of work, so here it is:
“I started this year in a kind of dream state. In the beginning it came from my time in the tropics, a slowing of my pace as I spent days in the sweltering glow of a small coastal town in Mexico. I would wake to a chorus of birds, heading to the rooftop to watch the sunrise as an assembly of trumpeting roosters led the song. Birds are my favorite animals, so it was bound to be good from there.
After my decent from the sensory breakfast on the roof, I would walk along a cobblestone road, salt in the air, thick with beckoning. Within minutes I was on a quiet, golden beach. The alchemy of warm sand, pelicans slowly diving and the merging of my skin and the pulsing sea set the tone for each of my days. In the evenings, I would go back to the roof and watch the sun set over the animated town. My nightcap was to sit under the stars and get lost in its shimmering vastness while the nearby waves folded into the dark.
This sea to sky rhythm was my norm for as long as I was able to stay, and in that rhythm I felt like I had come back to my most natural self, calmer and in tune with nature.
That winter left an aftertaste on my skin, and there was no better place to stretch it out than on the beaches of our West Coast. By the spring, I was swimming in as many lakes as I could, as often as I could. I would glide into the deepest part my arms could take me, rotate my body towards the sky and sink my ears below the surface of the water, again, staring upward. I would listen to the whispers of the lake. Held in the arms of plants, the water again was calming me, holding me.
I find it impossible not to notice that these sentient energies I adore; the birds, the trees, the water…many parts of nature are shrinking.
As the year progressed, my wondrous camping trips could not hide the fact that there are fewer bird songs, many trees are cut down and the rivers are no longer swollen. The ripples of human activity do not feel smooth and I am unsure of what will happen next.
In the late part of summer, in a gesture of appreciation and concern, my dreaming body grew roots that I planted deep into the Earth. I felt it essential to dig in, asking myself questions about my relationship to the whole - whom have I hurt? How am I hurting myself? In a period where all things are extremely vulnerable, what is my relationship to my environment, my community and to time?
Time led me back, back to my parents, my grandparents and beyond. I called to my ancestors, in particular the ones who had a deep relationship with the ecosystem and with the traditions that cradle it. I began learning about the old world, the songs, the language and the ways of being, and how things changed, bringing us to where we are today.
I am still in the process of asking myself questions; I likely always will be. I have made contact with the sky, I have made contact with the soil, and I am making contact with the things in between.
Each piece in the “CONTACT” series represents parts of my year. Blues like the water and skies I swam in, greens, like the chlorophyll edges of the lake, copper, like soil, and gold; the radiance of nature. Ancestors, time and space hold the tangible pieces that fall on the canvas together. The mediums are textured and speak to the movement of life.
As time passes, this year will soon spin into another. The next is a mystery, and my muse will lead me along the way – where we’ll go, I’m unsure. Like all of my art, my hope is that whatever I create will be the truest expression of my relationship to what unfolds in my world, and the world I perceive around me”.
Creating the work for a solo art show is no small feat. For me, it’s a synthesis of making art that exemplifies my evolution as an artist and human in a pretty complicated epoch, expressing authentic feeling and depth while also being accessible, and is a clear visual expression of what I’m trying to put into the atmosphere. I want my work to be more than 2 dimensional.
Aside from the meaning behind the art, it also requires many many hours at the studio, which is rewarding but a lot of work that can be quite physically demanding. It’s a good thing that I have my dad to keep me company on the late nights, something that is not only practical but very precious to me. Moments like when late one night, as I was painting and dad was sitting on a nearby chair; we both listened to the album “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa” by Jeremy Dutcher, for the first time. I explained the significance of the album and then when the elders sang in this song, I looked over at him to see him close his eyes and really listen to what was going on in that piece of music. Witnessing that while Jeremy’s beautiful and important music played, was so powerful for me.
There are also times when I’m painting late at night and my dad just falls asleep and starts snoring. That too, is wonderful.
The art for “C O N T A C T” took me a good 6 months to create, from the first piece until the last. In that time I also renovated my studio - I removed old, outdated shelving, got a new door with a huge window (which flooded the stude with sunshine!), added trim, got a new coat of paint and new lighting. It was really exciting for me and I was glad for the push that holding an art opening gave me. And to be honest, I was so into the process that I even poured the very last resin piece on the morning of the opening, because I was really enjoying the momentum.
And there was the production of organizing an event; which could never have happened without an amazing team including my new Studio Assistant, Laurence (she is FABULOUS!).
The night was a huge success and I got great feedback from the guests. We started with a Land Acknowledgement including drumming, which was a nod to my ancestors and the unceded land that my studio was built upon. As the night progressed; guests came in waves. I shared the beautiful story of “Sky Woman”, there was a performance from Vivian Vanderpuss, people enjoyed music, conversation, carefully designed cocktails and small bites. The fire pit outside (which was a very last minute addition) was a cozy and welcoming place to take a break from the crowds, sit under the stars and make new friends in the fresh air.
It was a big production for me but there is nothing that makes me happier as an artist than bringing together the people who I care about, those who support my work and my community - sharing Art, Music, Food and Great Conversation. I consider the reception a huge success and I look forward to the next one!
Here are the pictures from the Art Opening
Stay tuned for video footage from the night!
And if you are interested in my fluid round pieces like the one that Matt won that night, I am holding a small works holiday sale on December 1st and 2nd. Details here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post, I value your energy and thank you for supporting my work.