This project was done during Charles Darwin’s bicentennial of his birth. It explores ideas of origin and exploration.
This work was exhibited at Amelia Douglas Gallery in New Westminster with Louise Bunn in a show called Transmutations.
My work was inspired by learning about Charles Darwin which, in turn, led me to learn (a little bit) about genetics.
I was born and grew up in Vancouver. A significant part of my childhood was in Deep Cove, half a block to the ocean and across the street from a rocky forested outgrowth. The growth and decay cycle of nature is particularly exuberant in our part of the world and the colours and textures are deeply embedded in my psyche. After three years in Toronto and Montreal I returned to Vancouver with the intention to live here –in my natural habitat–for the rest of my life
Now I live in a busy area of Kitsilano, which nevertheless retains a neighbourhood feeling and a strong connection with nature. Tree-lined streets and beach access are backdrop to an urban street life that includes early-morning dog-walkers, an increasing number of homeless sleeping in door ways as well as joggers and bicyclists, some pushing strollers. The sounds I wake up to range from argumentative crows to kids and parents wishing each other a good day. In the middle of the night, there could be cars being towed, police responding to noise complaints or a spontaneous 4am party (being documented with phones) happening in the middle of the intersection.
This confluence of urban life – with all of its complexities and varieties – and the spaciousness of the trees, skies and ocean suit my temperament and interests – working to live with the both/and of these tensions and discord.
My mixed-media work starts with an exploration of an idea or theme. Often I am reading and thinking and talking for quite some time – months or even a year or more – before I actually get an idea as to how to translate the ideas to a visual. Even then, many pieces are very exploratory and change as I work on them.
Transmutations as a title for this show refers both to the techniques, which are experimental and often alter the pieces in unexpected ways as I work with them and also to concepts of journey, change and alteration in our lives and the world.
During the Darwin Bi-centennial I I became a bit fascinated by this family man who was an adventurer in both his inner and outer life. Some of his more famous “scribblings” like the tree of life and his list of pro’s and con’s of marriage intrigued me. It was when I read a National Geographic article which included the statement that “modern Darwins consult genetic scripture” that I got the idea for combining the double helix with biblical passages. His five-year journey on The Beagle was the start of a journey that took him and the world to new horizons.