C L I P P E D
Errant & Enchanted Gardens
My newest series of oil paintings are six by six inch miniatures, painted on smooth wood panels. They are intimate windows into verdant worlds of clipped hedges, trees and shrubs interspersed with rocks, gates and stonewalls.
Vancouver’s exuberant shrubbery and its use as sculpture, concealment, wall, divider, and façade fascinate me. Gardens are clipped and curtailed into shapes and contortions that conform to ideals of order and beauty. I am interested in the edges and boundaries where nature “fights back”, in the places where the topiary becomes disorderly and resists our impositions of neatness and control. The disobedience and bald spots are revealed particularly in Vancouver’s mature and aging gardens.
The paintings have a playful, whimsical component coupled with a sense of magical realism. The pruned trees and shrubs become “creatures” embodying our anthropomorphized projections, and their gestures suggest personality characteristics such as stoic, effusive, charming, mysterious or dramatic. Two trees may suggest a “couple” and more become a “family”, and their proximities to one another are evocative of emotional relationships.
As a painter and a gardener I revel in the fecund array of greens ranging from the chartreuse of springtime through the viridian and emerald of summer, to the grey and murky greens of winter. The paintings are both soft and hard-edged, with fine, delicate details alongside blurs of foggy shrubbiness. Installed in a grid format the paintings work as a kaleidoscopic whole.
Though this series marks a departure from my predominantly figurative imagery, topiary and art-historical ideals of nature and landscape have been constant elements in my work. These paintings represent a focused and Vancouver-specific exploration of the subject. They are iconic immortalizations of our evolving and disappearing urban gardens and neighbourhoods.
Exhibition runs from July 22nd to August 12th
Visual Space Gallery
Open Reception Saturday, July 22nd, 1-4PM
12-5PM Daily Closed on Sundays
C L I P P E D