PRESENCE was a collection of paintings that I was particularly excited about showing. The venue on Boul St-Laurent in Montreal was an excellent space for the paintings to breathe and become connected as a body of work.
St Laurent Boul. is also known as The Main in Montreal. A lively, diverse street that divides the city into east and west. In 1996 Parks Canada gave official recognition to Saint-Laurent Boulevard as a national historic site, important because of how it has functioned as a gateway for immigrants to Canada. The Main is a place that embodies the immigrant experience and also the commercial vitality and very history of Montréal.
I moved the Tibetan prayer flags that usually hang over the studio's double doors and hung them over the entrance to Galerie Espace for the duration of the show. The flags served as a quiet threshold blessing of welcome to PRESENCE. The gallery space was full of good energy and the paintings were released to sing with their full presence to those who ventured in to experience the exhibition.
The opening night was jam packed with people I love, friends and many fellow Montreal artists, which meant so much to me. There were also many new faces which was wonderful. One of the most common comments I received was that people who normally preferred Abstract paintings were very drawn to these "landscapes".
I am always fascinated by how the world views the paintings. These paintings flow out of my deep connection to the earth. In fact I almost have nothing to do with them except showing up at the studio and opening my heart to what I have experienced while out amongst the rocks, forests and rivers. I can talk about the techniques I use and my own process in creating them but the rest is about following an intuitive response to a nonverbal language from within and without.
This subject lead to many conversations with friends and strangers all held within in the presence of the paintings. Yes, I did sell many of the paintings and they went to live in new homes but for me it was the presence of a dialogue about the earth that defined the show as a real success. People spoke of a "remembering" and a genuine love for the earth which I feel is akin to remembering our authentic selves and our inter-dependence on each other.
I recently came across this article about the Zen master Tich Naht Hahn that speaks of this earth love much better than I can.
"Change is possible only if there is a recognition that people and planet are ultimately one and the same."