My work focuses on natural, social and political subject matter, often relating them to one another. I find myself interested in history, in changes that occur over time relating to land, environment, industry, people and their cultures. Through painting I interpret cultural shifts which have taken place on British Columbia’s coast. The works resonate emotions of darkness, optimism, and secrets. I attempt to create a balance between social critique and a remembrance of a time and place that once was.
Specific areas are researched through visual archives, history books, stories, and myths. With the transferring of historical imagery and varied paint applications the land begins to tell its story. The process of layering, and washing away, applications of paint and imagery reflect on the ever-changing relationship between human and environment. The incorporated images create small pockets, or moments within each work, where the viewer is able to enter the painting and take a step back in time. With the use of juxtaposition and symbolic imagery each painting speaks of cultural changes: a telephone pole may stand with a totem, a cluster of English roses is next to a patch of stinging nettle, a Bighouse sits beside a church. Each juxtaposition poses the nuances of the regional cultural landscapes.
My interest in the history of land and human settlement has largely stemmed from my upbringing. Growing up I spent many summers exploring the coastal area of Desolation Sound by sailboat. I was intrigued by the old homesteads, abandoned coastal village sites, and plant species that were non-native to the area; all were like clues, which left me wondering what once was. Later on, after meeting my partner, who is of Coast Salish decent, my interest in the history of the area became even greater. Gaining knowledge and insight into traditional Coast Salish culture has greatly influenced my current work. I am ever-curious about the First Nations commitment to their traditional practices; their songs, dances, languages, ceremonies and rituals, and their struggle to keep them alive.
I see my current work as a medium in which I can comment on human evolution; our tendencies to dominate each-other and our natural resources, our ever-growing population, and our world which is constantly in a state of change. I wish for my work to respectfully acknowledge the peoples and communities that have made the British Columbia coast their home for so many years; to tell their stories and let the history of the land live on.