Before the Museum Opens
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress wovenPatrick Kavanagh Canal Bank Walk
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven.
I’m not sure I agree that writing about one’s own work always serves a useful purpose. So I have gone about creating as I have gone about life.
It has been several years since my last major solo exhibition. The intervening time has included many things. Some travel, much advocacy on behalf of artists across the country, the design and construction of a new studio, the emptying of an old one after 15 years, and of course, production.
I will not try and define new work here but I can say that it has been steadily influenced by the climate crisis, extremism, identity politics, the abuse of history, and a host of other problems that face us in an age that is too often defined by privilege, and greed. While these issues may not figure overtly in the work, they are present in the making.
I am part of an unfashionable and maligned demographic and yet I have no interest in narrow definitions, divisiveness or anything that ignores a broader, deeper, more inclusive understanding of the world. I believe that every single decision we make has a bearing on the environment. I’ve adopted strategies to reduce and reuse materials as part of the process. This is done as an ethical choice and because it’s interesting. It’s also a comment on idealogical borders and a realization that what happens in the margins and between boundaries is where the difficult learning is to be had.
All this is predicated by a lifelong interest in a sense of place and human attachment to the land. So I go to work, I swim, I read and I spend time outdoors – sharing Muir’s conviction that “going out is really going in” and that bodily contact with the environment strengthens one’s understanding.
It’s okay to be uncertain.
In September 2018 I was delighted to organize and participate in Archived Land, the last exhibition at the Jackson Power Gallery in Edmonton, along with Marlena Wyman, Sydney Lancaster, Patrick Ares-Pillon and Conor McNally.
The County of Strathcona, where I live, has continued to be an important supporter. In 2018 I was awarded a grant that allowed me to work with county staff to install a temporary sculpture at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre.
This year the county also acquired a painting for its permanent art collection.
Also in 2019 I was part of the TD Thor Wealth Management Juried Exhibition at Quest Gallery in Midland, Ontario.
All this woven around the planning and construction of a new studio space.
Well and truly moved in and developing work for a major exhibition that will take place at Gallery@501 in Sherwood Park in March and April 2020.