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When I was thinking of a title for this exhibition, the word visceral came to mind.  I believe we all have a deep-rooted, innate desire for the aesthetically pleasing or beautiful, which can be felt without the necessity of logic or reason. I think this is really the overarching and unifying theme of my work.  With that being the premise, conceptually my art seeks to illuminate hope amidst brokenness in the world, a longing anticipation for our Creator's ultimate restoration of the earth and its inhabitants.  The ephemeral, temporary quality of this world is beautiful in itself, but also because it

 
speaks to the fact that there is a measure of perfection. I believe this indelible measure represents something more, something that is bigger than ourselves ... a world where there is no ruin or decay, where moth and rust do not destroy, where the beauty of creation is eternally restored.  In the meantime, through my art I want the viewer to discover the measure of beauty that can be found in a fleeting moment of time, in peeling paint, stormy skies, neglected homes and fishing boats.
 

Glimmer of Hope

$14,500 (HST included)

Acrylic on Gallery Canvas 40" x 60" 2011 (Age 16) Original available, Limited Edition Giclee Prints on Masonite available 16" x 24" 


This piece is the largest that I have completed to date. For reference, I used photos that I took of a Great Blue Heron in flight and stormy clouds, while I was in BC on Cortes Island being mentored under Robert Bateman. A year later, just before starting this painting in the fall, I had the rare opportunity to take photos of this amazing bird up close, as I happened upon one down on the shore of Lake Ontario not far from where I live. This helped me better understand the patterns and colouring of the feathers and face in particular. I used over 20 photos in order to achieve high realism detail. Compositionally speaking, I decided to put the horizon on an untraditional slight angle, as I felt this gave it a more dynamic sense and created greater aesthetic appeal. The swirling clouds add further motion as the heron flies toward brighter skies, keeping ahead of a turbulent storm. For me, the slight glimmer of light reflected on the heron represents hope within the darkness of the tempest. Although it appears that the heron is about to be engulfed, with no certainty of a way out, the light ahead conjures the metaphor of coming through one of life's storms and looking toward a brighter future. My family has faced a lot of storms, but our faith in God has given us that needed glimmer of hope to pull us through.

 
 

Shipwrecked Treasure

$14,000 (HST included)

Acrylic on Braced Baltic Birch 35" x 35" 2013 (Age 17) Original Available, Limited Edition Giclee Prints on Floatmount available 24" x 24" 


The inspiration for this painting came from the nautical features found in many small fishing towns along the east coast of Canada. While travelling through the Maritimes, old but vibrantly painted fishing shacks wrapped with fishing nets and lines of multicoloured hanging buoys became a common scene. Poking around taking photos and looking for unique architectural features, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this old rustic ship doorknocker. Later, after doing research, I found out that this tall sailing ship was actually the 16th century Galleon, which had been used for exploration trips and in war fleets. Like the fate of many of the Galleons, taking artistic license I felt that this little ship knocker could be figuratively shipwrecked on one of those dilapidated shacks, unable to move but still fairing quite well in comparison to the weathered wooden door it was affixed to. By placing the ship on the left hand side facing the window on the right, which looked out through another window to the ocean, I felt it could subconsciously evoke the thought of it sailing through the window and onto the water. The long shadows, a recurring theme in my work, added some interesting abstract shapes and helped accentuate the texture and the three dimensional planes. I have always been fascinated with the aesthetic appeal of surface textures such as wood grain and peeling paint. In this painting, although most of the hues are neutral and muted, I enjoyed applying the chromatic emphasis on the door. The teal peeling paint and reddish orange wood seemed to harmonize together because of their complementary relationship, and helped draw attention to the Galleon doorknocker which in turn subtly reflected those colours.

 
 

Eternal Sail

$12,900 (HST included)

Oil on Braced Baltic Birch 48" x 24" 2014 (Age 18) Original Available


Inspired by elements from my Maritime photos, I did a series of imaginative sketches to develop this composition. It is my first diversion from traditional quadrilateral format, as I decided in this case the subject matter would dictate the shape of the piece. I extended the image around the 2” sides, enhancing the three-dimensional effect by painting shingles on top of the peak.  I became fascinated by the repetition of triangles, which I highlighted in the architecture, bunting banner and sailboat.  The use of long cast shadows and a half shadow indicates the time is nearing sundown. Eternal Sail speaks of loss, celebration and gift, all reminders of eternity unseen, but where did that come from? While years had worn away the coastal home since that fateful day, the memory had not been forgotten.  A banner hung, it was to be a joyous celebration until dreadful words fell on the ears of a mother: father would not be coming home from sea. So as not to disappoint, holding back tears she proceeded with her son’s birthday.  Unbeknownst to the young boy he carefully unwrapped his only gift, a toy sailboat crafted by his father.  Attached was a penned note, recounting fond memories of sailing together, with words of encouragement and hope.  As the young cabin boy matured and eventually became a captain, the sailboat remained in his childhood room. It stood as a reminder that although our voyage will eventually come to an end with the setting sun, when we know the Captain of the Tide our celebration is anchored in the hope of eternity.

Pond's Edge  (SOLD)

$4,400 (HST included)

Arcylic on Braced Baltic Birch 14" x 30" 2013 (Age 18) Original Sold, Limited Edition Giclee on Masonite Prints available 14" x 30"


A submerged fishing boat hidden within reeds casting shadows upon a broken carpet of algae became the initial inspiration for Pond's Edge. Water refractions and reflections coupled by complex long shadows create abstract lines, allowing for fragmented geometric shapes. The Red-Winged Blackbird, which generally inhabits freshwater marshes, naturally seemed to be the perfect subject personifying the explorer, soaring through the thick wetland vegetation.

 

Swallows of Misty Wharf  (SOLD)

$5,900 (HST included)

Acrylic on Birch 18" x 30" 2013 (Age 17), Limited Edition Giclee Prints on Floatmount available 18" x 30"


A feeling of exhilaration came over me on the misty morning my family explored the coastal drive between Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg. I couldn't resist stopping at every little fishing village along the winding road, which meandered around bays and coves with the anticipation of what could be discovered beyond the next curve. Each time I hopped out of the car camera in hand, I was accosted by the smell of salty air repugnant with fish and rotting wood. Misty Wharf is a representational place, which is a composite of many similar structures supporting humble little fishing shacks. The mist was gently lifting from the reflective water as the morning sun broke through overcast clouds, sharply illuminating anything in its path. A few Barn Swallows swooped out from their homes below the docks and into the light.

 
 

The Lion and the Lamb  (Sold)

$3500 (HST included)

Acrylic on Braced Baltic Birch 12" x 24" 2013 (Age 17), Limited Edition Giclee Prints on Floatmount available 12" x 24"


Fascinated by an old ornate European-style building adorned with lion heads in downtown Hamilton, I was inspired to create this painting.  I was also drawn to the weathering of this building indicated by peeling paint, which strangely revealed red paint underneath.  The late evening sun illuminating this sculptural surface enhances the contrasts.  While most decorative structures use gargoyles or lions traditionally believed to ward off evil, I paradoxically replaced one of the lions with a lamb.  The lion, a symbol commonly representing strength and ferocity, together with the lamb, a symbol representing humility and weakness, is an uncommon coupling that may seem strange to some viewers.  Biblically, the symbol of a stronger animal such as a wolf, leopard or lion paired with a much weaker animal like a lamb, goat or calf, allegorically portrays a time when there will be ultimate peace and complete restoration (Isaiah 11:6).  Metaphorically, the lion and the lamb represent the duality of Christ, who in essence was the perfect and pure Lamb of God sacrificed by crucifixion in place of humankind, but also the mighty Lion of Judah triumphing over death and reigning as King (Revelation 5:5-6).  While this information is not intended to be didactic, it is nonetheless the personal meaning behind this painting, but it is up to the viewer to make their own interpretation.

 
 

Time is my Oyster (Sold)

$4500 (HST included)
Oil on Solid Red Oak, Triptych (three) 9" x 2" Circles 2014 (Age 18)
(Pending sale)

Passed down from my great-great Uncle Percy, I inherited an heirloom Victorian-style pocket watch, which has become a fascination of mine in recent years.  I set it among other objects I have collected such as seashells, rocks, and an old trinket box.  From this shelf of curious items the idea came to me of juxtaposing the mechanical timepiece with a natural shoreline landscape.  While composing the sketches, I realized I had been subconsciously influenced by Salvador Dali’s paintings of melting clocks, which I had seen the summer before at the Dali Museum in Florida.  This was later affirmed by viewers commenting on my first work in progress photos, saying it echoed Dali in High Realism.  I felt that a circular format would reflect the roundness of the pocket watch, and I decided to continue the composition onto two other circular panels for my first ever triptych (three paintings making up one) on solid red oak panels, the same surface Michelangelo painted on.  I did not realize how challenging it would be to paint around the sides of circles, but in the end it proved rewarding for its anthropomorphic uniqueness.  This painting has a somewhat mystical feel, travelling back into history and reaching forward to the future, transporting the viewer to a 'steam punk' world. The title is reminiscent of a Shakespearean saying “the world is your oyster," but elicits contemporary metaphors through the commodity of time.  While working on the painting the fleetingness of time became a point of contemplation, a reminder of how time is the most valuable currency, something we either lose or master.  We only have one life on this earth, then it all ends up in the proverbial box!


 

Please comment below with your thoughts on THE VISCERAL Virtual Exhibition