December 20, 2013 – March 02, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, with remarks at 2:00 pm
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada L0J 1C0
(Islington Avenue north of Major Mackenzie Drive on the east side)
Information: 905.893.1121 or toll free 1.888.213.1121
In the summer of 2013, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection partnered with York Region Arts Council (YRAC) to launch a new Art Mentorship Project to provide support to emerging artists and foster professional development, production and exhibition under the guidance of local, established artists in a distinctly Canadian context.
For the project’s inaugural term I was honoured to be mentor and was delighted to work and share ideas with the programs first successful applicant Ben Barak, a recent BFA graduate of Nipissing University. We had several sessions working on site at the McMichael Gallery and used the historic Tom Thomson Shack as shelter and place for critiques. The highlight for me was painting on location along the Humber River and a week long trip to Algoma in Northern Ontario, following the rail tracks to places that so inspired the Group of 7 and close to where I used to live.
The mentorship program has been a great opportunity to share, reflect and build upon my past body of work.
I have been interested in painting remote wilderness areas from Antarctica to the North Pole attempting to capture their wondrous beauty as well as witness the increasing changes in the landscape. Equally inspiring my artwork is the local indigenous flora and forest not far from my own home and how it is interrelated to what is going on at the “ends of the Earth”.
In response to the mentorship studio demonstrations of watercolour techniques, I chose to paint a large spring wildflower painting inspired from my hikes over the years when I lived near the Humber Valley. “What Grows Here” is a microcosm of the brief unfolding complex circus of wildflowers that covers forest floors that used to dominate York Region.
Juxtaposing the local Humber River Valley painting is a selection of my watercolours inspired by remote wilderness of the North Pole, Antarctica and Lake Superior. Ben Barak’s work, on the other hand, focuses on themes of searching an identity, executed using many of the techniques he practiced under my demos and critiques.