Beneath the Long Grass: The Constructed Canvas presents an acute awareness of something that lies beneath. This series examines what lies beneath one’s conscious awareness of the land and moreover, what lies beneath a whole romantic conception of nature. These works contemplate energy and environment using layers, transparencies, and a depth of materials. Encaustic and transparent oil paints combine over an underlying support of specifically woven tapestry or interwoven canvas, burlap, or linen.
Three themes run through this series of works. Firstly, “landscape” means tracing the boundary where land meets human. Sometimes only a single warm line of containment jealously guards a small place of human presence in the immense natural commons of the prairie. Here, between the flatlands and the mountains there is a unique Albertan identity, possibly even pride. Its basis? – simply our existence in this place. Secondly, experience accumulates. Materials are physically altered by usage and re-usage; identity can be reinvented, but no matter how strong and redirected is today’s purpose, it cannot completely obliterate the accumulated material meaning of the land. And finally, memory trumps fact. Clearly felt experience meets vaguely remembered fact.
At once solitary and completely engrossing, the afternoon, like the prairie, went on forever and yet took no time, no space, at all. This apparently contradictory doubleness-of-vision is an absolutely necessary condition of a truly realist mindset.