Garage Gallery, Benmiller
June to September 2021
Artist Statement for Land and See
I am drawn to objects discarded by humans and changed by the natural elements. I find them in the gutters along the street, in the discarded remains from the renovation of our over 100-year-old house, or along the Lake Huron shores where they have been soaked in the lake, tossed on the waves and returned to shore. Their transformation by the elements over time feels like nature is pulling them back into its fold. These treasures ignite my imagination as I intuitively and playfully create new stories for them as art. Trusting this as a playful impulse leads me to create new and often unseen places and objects that can make one feel like they have crossed over on a journey into a dreamlike otherworld.
In developing art for this exhibit, Land and See, these lakeshore discoveries were often the seeds in creation. My paintings are like maps, images of a journey. My assemblages and sculptures are like signposts or stations along the way. They are places for contemplation and inspiration for the next step on your journey.
While creating, I mused upon the idea of Land and See tossing the word see to sea around in my mind and back again, becoming interchangeable in my creative process. Here are some land and see or sea musings:
My ancestors came to this land by water. I am here because of their water journeys.
One of my ancestors was shipwrecked at sea after returning home to Ireland to collect his inheritance.
We are born of our mother’s body of water onto land.
I acknowledge that the land I live upon is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral peoples; the Chippeawas of Nawash, the Odawa, and the Saugeen Ojibway peoples. I recognize and value the First Peoples’ continued stewardship of the land and water.
While at sea, the stars are our guide.
I love everything about Monarch butterflies, their metamorphosis, their incredible journey over land and sea.
While on the water, words float like whispers on the sea.
The paint that I use is encaustic, a mixture of beeswax, damar resin and pigment. The ancient Greeks used wax to waterproof their ships. When they added pigment, it became an artform. In 800BC Homer writes of painted Greek ships sailing into Troy. (source The Art of Encaustic Painting, Joanne Mattera, pg 15).
Using encaustic paint preserves these objects once vulnerable to the elements, bringing them to life with new meaning and energy, directing your mind’s eye to land and see the unseen.