My solo exhibition, "The Big Gigantic", opens in Regina today, at Slate Fine Art Gallery. I really wish that I was able to travel to the opening, and spend a bit of time in the Queen city, but it's just too busy in the studio before the holidays.
This show features several bodies of work, including my Canadian men Series, The Provincial Floral Silhouette Series, my icon silhouette series and shadowboxed works.
"My current body of work explores the icons, symbols and clichés of Canada. While these symbols are often nostalgic and romantic, they are symbols that I reluctantly embrace and identify as being Canadian. Within this body of work are several series that represent both obscure and iconic provincial destinations, people and symbols.
These works explore an "idea” of Canada, and allude to the souvenir. The desire to take a “piece” of a place home with us and to somehow authenticate a journey is a shared one. This common need allows us, as Canadians, to relate to one another despite our distance across such a vast nation."
The theme and exploration of this work has been in development for the past 11 years, starting with the Canadian Men Series, that reference the style of Victorian mourning jewellery, or monarchy medallions and illustrate the archetypes of Canadian men that are disappearing, lost and forgotten but persistent.
As well as showcasing some of the older work, I continued working on my Provincial Floral silhouette series, and Slate Fine Art Gallery will host the newest additions to the collection: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Each Canadian province and territory is assigned a flower, generally a prolific or symbolic flower for each province. These statement neckpieces reference the floral symbols of each province beginning at the East coast, and moving westward, in a sort of visual road trip.
Finally, I really wanted to revisit my ongoing series which I describe as my silhouette drawings. These acrylic drawings or silhouettes are forms and symbols of heroes and villains, inspired by Canadian history high school textbooks, maps, pop culture, tourism brochures and postcards. This series is presented as a hinged shadow box that functions both as a vertical jewellery box, and wall mounted art piece. Each framed piece has a component that is removable, and can be worn as a jewellery piece.
I also added several new pieces to this ongoing work: "Sudbury Saturday Night", (with a removable stomping board and microphone brooch, inspired by Canadian musician and Icon, Stompin Tom Conners) and if you're not familiar, you should listen to this version, by Hannah Epperson, "On Second Thought", (with removable maple sap bucket brooch), "Just Married, 10 Year Anniversary", (with removable tin can brooch that celebrates the upcoming 10 year anniversary of same sex marriage in Canada), and "Game On", (with removable word bubble brooch).
And the title of the exhibition? Well, because this work is showing for the first time in western Canada, I titled it after a misheard lyric that dominated the radio when I was a teenager from the song, "Hundredth Meridian", which goes, "Left alone to get gigantic, hard huge and haunted"...I thought the misunderstood song lyrics would be a good title as the song references the longitude line that separates Western Canada from the Central and Atlantic regions.
Western Canada will always be the big gigantic in my mind. xo.
I graciously acknowledge the support and encouragement of the Ontario Arts Council. Thank you.