This pastel work, "Wish you Were Here", seeks to unsettle the viewer's sense of comfort with status quo thinking, by offering a chance to consider different ways to interpret what is going on in the work. Is the initial way you make sense of it the only way to interpret the scene?
For instance do you ask, "Is it the bear (in the woods) that is out of place?
Or, is it the picnic table (in the woods) that is out of place?
Is this a Provincial Park? How was land for it acquired? Was it expropriated from First Nations without consultation or remuneration ? ( eg. Banff and Algonquin Parks)
What would I do if this bear was in my camp site?
How did that black bear learn to sit like that at a picnic table?
Is there anything disturbing rather than funny about this picture?
Maybe you just want to enjoy the thrill we somehow get seeing other life forms act in human ways.
Lots to think about, or not!
I delight in the soul-soothing colour and endless magnificent patterns of the living world: subtle greys and blues of winter skies and snow shadows; fall layers of mauves, oranges and rusts in fields, hillsides and gardens; spring bursts of greens, yellows and violet. My visual work mostly in watercolour and pastel, often layered and enhanced with found or symbolic objects, wants to respond to and celebrate the joy and sometimes tragedy of being in this world, here and now.
As my technical skills have advanced, my impulse for social critique, until recently channelled through my writing, has begun to inform my visual compositions as well. I am strongly in the camp of art as bearing witness to injustice and arousing connection to community and the living world we are part of. I seek to inspire through my own passionate response to the world. It feels like a worthy next chapter. I hope you find it so.
Arts in Our Community is a South Simcoe Arts Council program that partners with community businesses to provide local artwork for our public spaces. All artwork shown in Arts in Our Community exhibits is by local artists who are members of the South Simcoe Arts Council.
Matthew's House Hospice-Reflection Room
131 Wellington Street East