Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Pop Up Gallery in Mont-Tremblant

This is an exhibition I was extremely proud of, both in the creation of the "pop-up gallery" and the work presented. Working in close collaboration with Dominique Normand and Luis Paniagua, two artists whose work I greatly admire and whose friendship is deeply meaningful and valued. The three of us have worked in partnership before and we intuitively understand each others strengths and energies.

The Mont-Tremblant Pop Up Gallery as seen at night from outside.

After driving across Canada this October and presenting "pop-up galleries" out of the back of my van with great success, I decided to try the same in the village of Mont-Tremblant. Much of my work is inspired by the precambrian rock and boreal forests of the Laurentian mountains as I lived there for 25 years and absorbed the landscape directly into my bones. A return to the source seemed like a good idea but where to exhibit? Tremblant is notorious for its lack of exhibition venues for artists and so I decided to look into an empty 3000 sq foot retail space that has been for rent for quite some time on the main road through the village. Below are some before and after shots of our transformation from a raw, empty space with not even any lighting into a brightly lit, professional gallery space for our work to be shown.


We began by hanging several large lengths of earth colored thick canvas that Dominique had traded for with a friend of hers. This created a soft, warm backdrop for the paintings and hid the raw stud walls that ran down the whole length of space.



 Luis Paniagua, a long time friend and sculpture of the region, helped us wire and install a collection of lights that we either found, borrowed or brought from our studios.

 This was an exhibition of my larger scale works as most of my smaller ones were sold on my cross Canada tour this October. I have never seen all my large paintings hung together and so was very excited about the prospect. I could never have done it without Walt's truck and patient expertise. Most people don't realize the enormous amount of work that goes into a show like this. From bringing 30 large paintings down from the third floor of my Montreal studio, loading the truck, unloading the truck in Tremblant, setting up the gallery, installing the paintings, coordinating the wine, food, coat racks, tables and countless other details.

 Finally it is opening night, the paintings have been hung, the sculptures placed and their energy starts to fill the space. We all look at each other and agree that each piece has found its place in the room and our work is done. Now the paintings and sculpture will have to speak for themselves as people enter and begin to listen to their stories.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Touching Earth, Finding Spirit

Montreal to Vancouver 4,816 Km / 2,992 miles
Having returned home after having moved through so many diverse landscapes I am allowing their impressions and feelings to wash through me in preparation to paint them as they wish to be painted. I always feel close to the living landscape, whether I am in the midst of NYC or the wilderness of Northern Ontario there is something that draws me to the sensual qualities of the earth. This last trip however, was exceptional. I can't seem to stop "feeling" the landscapes, they are embedded within my heart and soul and they want to be painted. That is why this essay by Betty Perluss has spoken to me, she seems to understand the land in a way that is becoming more and more real for me as I engage with  the poetry and beauty the land speaks through colors, textures and shapes.

"The landscape thinks itself in me, and I am its consciousness." ~Paul C├ęzanne
Perluss's words hum with insight and illuminate how nature serves as an alchemical bridge for us between inner and outer worlds. Stepping into the wilderness is like entering a "liminal space where the boundaries between psyche and nature, inner and outer, become less defined. Here, birds, animals, plants and rocks appear like characters in a dream, and all of nature speaks to those who are willing to listen."

She also suggests that, "the external world is not only a mirror for psychic events, but is also the ground--the terra firma--of the soul. Does not psyche need a place for her feet, a mountain to climb, a river to drink from, and a garden to tend?"
The article claims that "when people live in a particular place for long periods of time, they physically and psychically mimic the characteristics of the landscape. Different landscapes, therefore, produce varied geopsyches." I find this to be fascinatingly true to my experience of driving across Canada. People's personalities tend to reflect the characteristics of the land they live on. The landscape no longer exists just "out there" but resonates deeply in our bodies and souls. The "Genius Loci" or spirit of place exists in our bones.

It is this living, breathing connection to the land that I feel wants to be painted. How to do this? I am not sure. I will trust my paints and intuition to guide me. I have been preparing several large canvases in the studio as the impressions build inside me. This is both a fertile and frightening time to be a painter, when the images are within but have not yet found their outward form of expression. 

"We need new stories, new terms and conditions that are relevant to the love of land, a new narrative that would imagine another way, to learn the infinite mystery and movement at work in the world." ~Linda Hogan

The deepest words
of the wise men teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.

~Antonio Machado 

Back to the studio to sit and wait and listen with the patience of rock.





Sunday, November 4, 2012

Last Day of Beauty along the Pacific West Coast

 A very rainy, socked in day. Typical weather for this time of year on the coast and I love it.
Warm, drizzly mist, clouds floating low on the horizon, dark mountains breaking through on occasion.


 The girls, Emily, Lauren and Susan touring in the rain. These three beauties took me to see some of the rocky coastline and I fell in love. The first is Whyte Cliff Park, where scuba divers were bobbing around in the water like seals and the rock was folded into elegant shapes just begging to be painted.

 I really could have sat and painted here for months without moving more than a few feet in any direction. The light was soft and fused creating a gorgeous array of colors, my head and heart are full of images that will feed me all winter.

 Next we went on the Lighthouse Park and the old growth trees. I am always humbled and awed when in the presence of these tree beings.

A perfect day to end the trip. I am leaving behind five paintings in the Haymaker office/gallery of Horseshoe Bay which means I am only shipping home four paintings of the original 24 I started out with! This has been such an amazing trip and I can't wait to do it all again. Now it's time to pack some suitcases and catch a plane.
See you in Montreal!

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