Intuition, Experience and Blind Faith: Morley Myers and Clem Crosby collaborate for the first time to make sculpture

Being an artist can sometimes be an isolating experience. Even though some say that collaboration means giving up your individuality, I believe in the power of collaboration. Having a team of people united in one effort can bring about amazing results. “A partner’s different perspective is valuable’, Astronaut Ron Garan once said, ‘but the very fact that it is different means that it will require work, humility, time, and resources to incorporate that perspective. At times, this will require checking one’s pride at the door.”

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When I ran into sculptor Morley Myers a few weeks ago, he introduced me to his friend Clem Crosby. The London-based painter, whose art has been exhibited at the Tate Modern and the UC Berkeley Art Museum – to name but a few – is working at the radical center of a growing circle of painters who accept the accumulated legacy of art history and contemporary culture in their work, but ‘without any traces of the irony that characterized a generation of appropriation’. (1)

‘Are you working on a project together?’ I asked.

‘Yes, we’re working with raw emotions’, Morley said.

‘Rather than calling it ‘raw emotions’ I prefer to call it intuition’, Clem added.

Morley and Clem – who grew up on the same small base in Suffield, Alberta, where their fathers were posted with the Canadian Forces and British Forces in the Seventies – decided to spend 10 days focusing on a collaborative project at Myer’s home on Salt Spring Island after having talked about it for years.

‘Clem’s approach to creating art is very different to mine’, Morley Myers says, ‘which is why I was very interested in seeing this process at work.’ Clem, in turn, was very receptive to the idea of creating sculptures as he had done little 3D work up until this point.

Morley, can you tell us more about your artistic collaboration with Clem? 

Morley: Clem’s approach is much looser than mine. He is constantly looking to turn convention on its head. For instance I would be setting up a starting point – usually involving a recognizable figure – and then Clem would start to deconstruct the piece.

We used a lot of foam for the armatures and built upon that with plaster, cloth and sticks. It had a sense of fort building, the stuff I did when I was a boy. We basically used what we had on hand, and then let ‘it’ happen.

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Clem, you have never made sculpture before. Can you tell us more about your artistic collaboration with Morley? 

Clem: I have been painting for over 25 years so I guess it’s important to recognize the experience an artist accumulates from making something from nearly nothing. But let me start by saying that being on an island – Salt Spring Island – is both a blessing and a possible hindrance. The place is ridiculously beautiful so in my mind there is little point in trying to record nature through paint or otherwise – it already exists. Secondly, I was away from any distraction and overt criticism so I felt a certain liberty to fail, make mistakes and have fun making a mess with a good old pal and super artist Morley Myers.

We decided pretty much immediately that we would try and keep it loose, not get too technical – lucky for me! We literally grabbed some paper towels a couple of bags of quick drying plaster (important because less time to pontificate) from Morley’s studio and twigs and sticks from the yard.

The first pieces were modest in size, neither abstract nor representational although they did have an anthropomorphic quality. Morley would slap the plaster on an armature fashioned out of styrofoam and twigs then I would step in and do the same.

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Only when we decided to push the scale did Morley’s preference for the figure become apparent. He would start by carving in to the foam and i would do my best to undermine the emerging form by skewering the foam with sticks and having Morley’s outline disrupted only for him to then start again.

Sounds like the actual figure is not necessary for Clem?

Morley: That’s right. He is just interested in raw emotion and has a way of expressing that in the true abstract.

Clem: I prefer to call it both intuition and experience. I think ‘raw emotion’ makes the way I work sound like it’s coming from nowhere, I prefer to call it a mix of intuition and experience. Also, I wouldn’t say that my painting is truly abstract in the concrete sense of the term, for example, it’s not just about the materials I use.

I read that Clem Crosby works in relentless cycles of revision, corrective erasure, and overlay, ‘mixing topical concerns with reference to the past as seamlessly as he mixes colour and drawing’. The resulting paintings have been described as ‘at once emotional and yet rigorously intellectual, improvised and yet painstakingly considered’. What theme did you choose for your sculpting project and why? 

Morley: If there was a theme, then it was to disregard how we had been working up until this point. The project was mostly an exercise for both of us – an exercise for me to loosen up, and an introduction for Clem to sculpt with real hands on.

Clem: I think it helps if you know your collaborator because you have to be able to let go of preconceptions. In London, I never have anyone near my studio when I am painting so I knew this would be difficult enough.

The maddening thing about Morley is that he is so talented, he fixes old bikes and cars, he’s always known about nature and incredibly informed about almost anything, he’s the most self deprecating fellow I know and he makes amazing work. There is no doubt that if he were living in London he would be showing! And he’s as funny as hell so I knew it would be a great, creative atmosphere. At the very least if it didn’t work we could throw it all away and have some beers.

We added plaster, wrapped the paper around the styrofoam, pushed in the sticks, cut the foam, pulled out the sticks, added more plaster….and on it went, trying not to make ‘art’ but to go out there and make that ‘something else’ happen. Sometimes we talked a lot whilst working, sometimes we said very little. Then these wonderful, raw, immediate, unfussy, figurative/abstract sculptures emerged.

I think that the last piece we made is amazing, so too the are the first couple and i’m thrilled that we pulled something out of the experience. I learned a great deal about having an object sit in space, to make a convincing ‘thing’ that has volume and that one can believe in.

Then the beers did come out…….
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The history of art, music and literature is filled with many unusual partnerships, or at times stormy, passionate affairs between creative spirits – like Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the Eighties. What did Clem and you accomplish together that you would not have been able to do alone?

Morley: The finished work – some of which is very good – would otherwise never have happened. I have the luxury of living with the fruits of our labour and have been enjoying their presence in my studio. There is a freedom in the way Clem works that I had the chance to experience and internalize.

IMG_2084What was the most inspiring moment during your collaboration?

Morley: I think some of our walks together. As Clem comes from London, I wanted him to experience my environment on Salt Spring Island. I wanted him to see what living in the pines is all about, and we talked about the importance of being healthy and connected to the earth through exercise and food. I have been dealing with cancer for a while and don’t know what my time line is, which brings an urgency to who we are and what we do as artists.

Morley Myers and Clem Crosby, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and insights with my readers.

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About Morley Myers

Morley Myers was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1956, and grew up primarily in the Medicine Hat region. A self taught sculptor, Morley has been working with stone since 1991 and has been involved in exhibits on the west coast and has displayed in galleries in New York, Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Salt Spring Island, Calgary, Winnipeg and Medicine Hat.

About Clem Crosby

Clem Crosby is a British painter living and working in London, UK and is represented by the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London

Crosby’s work is represented in the following Tate Archive, London, UC Berkeley Museum, USA, and the Microsoft Collection, USA amongst others.

He recently exhibited his paintings at the Armory, NY (2016) with Houldsworth and is being featured in an interview with the artist Ian Davenport in Turps Magazine (July, 2016)

Other collaborative projects in the art world

The history of art, music and literature is filled with many unusual and passionate partnerships, and at times stormy, love affairs between creative spirits.

– Painter Dalí and filmmaker Luis Buñuel were still relatively unknown in their fields when they created the classic surrealist short film “Un Chien Andalou” back in 1928.

– When in 1949, LIFE staff photographer Mili went to visit the Picasso at his studio in France, the painter became so fascinated with Mili’s light painting technique that he suggested to have pictures of him taken as he painted in the air.

– After meeting Warhol in 1980, Jean-Michel Basquiat entered into a collaborative relationship with the artist that lasted until 1985 and created many products of the admired and refuted 1980s Pop art.

– Abstract expressionist Robert Rauschenberg contributed this “money thrower” to an installation for an exhibition of Tinguely’s work in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art.

Creative couple collaborations:

The following couples dared to mix business with pleasure, establishing compatible relationships on both a personal and professional level. Their professional collaboration often produced extraordinary results: the intellectual souls Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre; the Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock – two of the best known American artists of the 20th century – and the poets and writer Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

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Recent work by M. Myers

 

 

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There is always more to learn …

Marcus Aurelius

Last week, I  finished my cast drawing semester under the guidance of Noah Layne at the Realist Academy in Victoria, B.C. Working beside this amazing Canadian artist – who teaches dispassionately and without holding back  –  was a constant reminder to me that there is more to learn beyond whatever proficiency I might already have. And I recognized how little I really know compared with true masters of the arts.

Completing this second part of my apprenticeship with Noah meant fulfillment. Only by exposing myself to someone better than I have I been able to improve my skills and techniques. But technical knowledge alone is not enough: disciplined study can foster a student’s growth in many ways.

Noah has taught me to allow patience and stillness to take over when my impatience was starting to kick in while working on a sketch or a painting.

‘Do not rush’, he said. ‘If you manage to paint one square inch perfectly, you will also be able to perfectly paint a canvas the size of a skyscraper  – just take your time.’

Once I managed to calm my mind, I was able to patiently concentrate on finishing the smallest detail.

More information:
Noah Layne Academy of Realist Art / Victoria, B.C. Canada
www.noahlayne.com

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Charcoal ‘Marcus’ by Daniela Herold at the Noah Layne Academy of Realist Art in Victoria, B.C.

The need to belong

Series ‘be-longing’ by Daniela S. Herold at Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan

'Lemonisity' by D.S. Herold

‘Lemonisity’
Oil on board by D.S. Herold

In 1970, American psychologist Abraham Maslow pointed out that belonging was an essential and prerequisite human need that had to be met before one could achieve a sense of self-worth. 

I immigrated to Canada in 2004 after having lived in different countries for the last 20 years. The theme of migration and identity has concerned me for years – I know what it is like to leave ‘home’ and move to a new place, where unfamiliar people become neighbours, colleagues and friends.  However, I have always moved by choice with a job, a loving partner or a place waiting for me. I was the fortunate one – unlike hundreds of thousands of refugees who know about displacement, having moved out of their native home and country due to civil wars, persecution or natural disasters.

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‘The essence’ by D.S. Herold

Today, my friend Rosemary and I finished hanging 35 paintings from my latest series titled ‘be-longing’ at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre in Duncan.  The show is close to my heart because it focuses on growing roots, being connected and belonging with others. The exhibition can be seen until the end of January 2016.

‘Humans have a natural need to belong with others.
To belong means to be connected.’

Why is the topic of belonging such a common theme in literature, music and the arts?

The need to belong is rooted in evolutionary history. Human beings are social animals who have always depended on having close connections in order to survive and reproduce. In our daily life, we seek out those who are most similar to us because we feel that we can relate to them and they can understand us.

As an immigrant, I wanted to belong and to grow roots here in Canada – I have been longing to be part of this culture while at the same time needing to stay close to my European roots.

Humans have a natural need to belong with others. To belong means to be connected. As for me, the word home is connected just as much to a place as it is connected to a person. In that sense I felt I could take the word ‘belonging’ apart (BE-LONGING) as in ‘I am longing’ for something that makes me whole.

'Camouflage’. Oil on board

‘Camouflage’. Oil on board by D.S. Herold

Every time you are taken out of your ‘heart community’, there is a void that yearns to be filled. For me, the alienation was caused by my move to another country. For many, the feeling can be the result of the scattering of their families, the break-down of traditional groups or the disappearance of a village familiarity where everyone knows everyone. Millions of people are taken out of their heart communities as I am writing these lines – the stories of their suffering during the current refugee and migrant crisis in Europe are enormous.

‘I am longing’ for something that makes me whole.’

A friend asked me whether ‘the artist and nationality’ are a central theme in my art. About a year ago, when I started the series ‘be-longing’, I was wondering how important nationality would (have to) be? At one point it confronted me with quite a dilemma: how could I – as a German-Canadian artist – portray ‘Germanness’ in general if all symbols of Germany are tainted by the past? The artist Anselm Kiefer already asked that existential question in the 1960s.

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‘As snug as a bug in a rug.’ Oil on board by D.S. Herold

When I was reflecting on my own sense of nationality and what it means for me as an artist, I came across a quote by Saltire Award winner Meaghan Delahunt that I really liked. She wrote in 2003: ‘It is not the responsibility of the artist to present a comfortable or ‘identifiable’ picture of the nation in which they were born or in which they live, and they should be free to write about whatever they see fit in whatever language they see fit.’  

This project left me with the interesting question: how important is my nationality in the context of belonging when I compare it to other staples of my life, e.g. my family, my friends, networks, groups, environment etc? As it turned out, nationality has been only one aspect of many.

Belonging has a lot to do with getting recognition and developing self-esteem. According to Maslow, we only develop self-esteem when we are anchored in community. At the end of the day it is the community that gives us the recognition for our achievements, and it is the community that respects us for our mastery in a certain field.

How we portray and express this human need of belonging, so deeply ingrained in our nature, is very individual – as is the artistic presentation of the topic around it. I want my viewers to create their very own story of my art – that is why my paintings leave a lot of room for imagination and assumptions.

Of course there is ‘my’ story behind every painting, but what would art be if it doesn’t reach out and touch your life? What makes me tick is when my paintings manage to hold your attention for a while, when they can inspire you or make you wonder.

Why art? Because.

Daniela S. Herold

 


Further information : Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

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‘In unison.’ Oil on board by D.S. Herold

 

 

Paintings/Photographs by D.S. Herold  / Copyright 2015

“I want my viewers to have a choice”

More than just a glance – Canadian artist Richard Motchman about Mask and Column paintings and the importance of interactive art.

Slowly I open one side of a painted wooden mask to reveal what is underneath.  I feel like I am part of this painting, invited and enticed to get a closer look at the model behind the mask.  The face behind the mask is nothing like I imagined – I enjoy the surprise. Interactive doors, three-dimensional canvases, rotating columns – Richard Motchman invites his audience to be curious and to explore.  The Canadian artist on the importance of interactive art.

Richard, you once read a book on aesthetics that discussed the differences between painting and the other arts.  Why did it inspire you?

Richard: Because one of the distinctions made was that music, drama and literature – by their nature – require time to comprehend, while painting, at one level, can be seen at a glance in one strong impression.  This premise inspired me so much that I began creating complex paintings, which are impossible to absorb in a moment. By involving three-dimensional forms and certain interactive elements into my work, I force the viewer to spend time exploring and understanding my paintings.

“At the heart of my art practice is the viewer’s physical interaction with my painting. It enriches the meaning of painting.”

You have an amazing way to bring your subjects into reality. What materials do you use?

Richard: I have used life-casts, canvas and fiberglass to extend the picture plane beyond the usual two-dimensions; my subjects are three-dimensional; they are life-like; they require space. The most recent work is basically flat but with the figures roughly life size.

Yet, in direct opposition to this, you build revolving doors and panels into the paintings which actually remind the viewer of the picture plane and which may alter or transform the essential meaning of the painting when manipulated by the viewer. 

Richard: In this way, I insist that the viewer acknowledge the painting as an object that has been made of wood, canvas and colour, and that he or she be involved in the creative decision about how the painting will be arranged and so first appear to the next person.

Let’s focus on the column paintings for a moment. They are basically flat paintings with an inset triangular column or columns.  How do they work?

Richard: The viewer rotates these columns to change a section of the painting; the panels on the column either provide more information on the subject of the painting or bring in multiple narrative possibilities to the painting, and give a viewer the opportunity to make choices.  Moving the columns means time is involved in the experiencing of the painting, and by rotating the columns the viewer is exposing the nature of the picture plane.

I would like to show my readers a few of your ‘Mask paintings’.   It was fascinating for me to open the mask in order to reveal the face underneath. What does the mask symbolize?

Richard: The mask is chosen by the model and can be reflective of the model’s travels or ancestry, but it is also a metaphor for the various social roles we adopt in life. They usually bring with them different social masks, which often obscure who we really are.

“It is key for me that the viewers of my art have a choice.”

 

Richard Motchman

And it is with this mask that the viewer physically interacts, opening it up to reveal the model’s face. How do viewer react?

Richard: Touched, curious and interested. For many of them this interaction creates an intimate involvement with the model and also with the painting. This viewer involvement is key to the work for it makes the object nature of painting clear and brings time into painting.

Are you seeking a change from tradition? Is it the interaction between the viewer and the piece of art that makes you tick?

Richard: Indeed. I have always loved to work with paint, but I also want the physical involvement of the viewer with my art.

Does that mean that batteries in your installments is a ‘no go’?

Richard (chuckling): Correct. I want my pieces to exist on their own.

What is your motivation as an artist?

Richard: Good question. I guess my art keeps me sane. It is a transformation from my ordinary life.

Thank you, Richard Motchman, for sharing your work with my readers.

 

More information:  Richard Motchman exhibits his art at XChanges Gallery in Victoria B.C.

Artist website

www.richardmotchman.com

Columns paintings

http://www.richardmotchman.com/column.html

Mask paintings

http://www.richardmotchman.com/mask.html

Photos by D. Herold / Copyright 2014 

Painted canvas relief structures as conversation pieces

Transformation of found domestic and industrial objects into intimate paintings

'Emotionally driven' series at XChanges Gallery in Victoria, B.C.

‘Emotionally driven’ series by Tanta Pennington at XChanges Gallery in Victoria, B.C.

 

As a studio member of Xchanges Gallery in Victoria, I had the pleasure of seeing painted canvas relief structures by local artist Tanta Pennington in our exhibition room every day for the month of March. Depending on my mood, I could suddenly relate to ‘Hope’ whereas an hour before ‘Compassion’ was talking to me. One morning I found myself only drawn to the black paintings whereas the evening before the white structures appealed to me. How does the artist explain this interaction between her art and the observer?

Tanta: I think most people are surprised. They are surprised that the pieces are small, surprised that they are one colour and surprised that pure abstract shapes can start an internal dialogue of questions.

'Surprise' by Tanta Pennington

‘Surprise’ by Tanta Pennington

Can you tell us more about your series ‘Emotionally driven’?

Tanta: The series was initiated through the gathering of ordinary objects. By transforming found domestic and industrial objects into intimate paintings and only using the colours, white, grey or black, I have discovered a new form of self-expression.

You have been working on the series for the last three years, making almost forty pieces.

Tanta: Each one has started with a 10 in. x 8 in. canvas support. As I attach found objects I start to think about composition, textures and how I can weave them all together. The covering process is very peaceful and tactical. Sometimes I dip, then pour, but usually I scoop handfuls of paint and lay it slowly and carefully on the surface. Depending on the layers of paint each piece can take up to several months to dry.

The large piece Genesis is a combination of all the paintings, I would add onto it as I made the small ones, so even though it was the last one finished it was really the beginning.

'Hope' by Tanta Pennington

‘Hope’ by Tanta Pennington

Your pieces are titled e.g. ‘lust’, ‘compassion’, ‘envy’, ‘hope’, ‘surprise’, ‘regret’. Do they epitomize your very personal emotion at the time of their creation?

Tanta: After each piece was finished I would spend time observing it, looking at the shadows, how the paint would sit on the surface, and how everything had amalgamated. Then I would wait for the emotion to surface. Only then would I name the piece and write the Haiku.

What materials do you use?

Tanta: My painted canvas relief structures are made out of wire, wool, and screws, combined with objects made from metal, wood, and plastic. I like to amalgamate found materials and handmade objects with traditional methods of execution such as painting and drawing to create modern, innovative pieces.

Do you ever work on many pieces at the same time?

Tanta: Yes, I do! I tend to go back and forth between making sculptures, installations, wall works, paintings and drawings. And I am comfortable working in either a small or large scale.

What makes you tick as an artist?

Tanta: I have a restless and fertile imagination. Shapes, colours, and bits of conversations are constantly seducing me. It just happens. Sometimes I envy friends that can just walk down the road and only see the road.

What or who inspires you?

Tanta: Opulent shop windows, hardware stores, construction sites, shadows and back alleys.

If you could have a conversation with one of the following artists, who would you choose? Constantin Brancusi, Auguste Rodin, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Victor Vasarely or M.C. Escher?

Tanta: I would invite Auguste Rodin and M.C. Escher to late dinner at Chez Denise in Les Halles, Paris. I would let the vin rouge flow and just listen to them talk as the waiters danced their ballet around us.

Tanta, thank you for sharing your thoughts with my audience.

About:

Tanta DeStaffany Pennington is based in Victoria, Canada and is a Fine Arts Diploma and Independent Studio Program graduate from the Vancouver Island School of Art. Tanta has exhibited work at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria International Airport, The Victoria Conference Centre, and local galleries. Tanta participated in the International 2011 Florence Biennale. Her work is in collections in Western Canada, Hawaii, California, and Italy.

XChanges Gallery Victoria BC
Gallery Hours 2:00-4:00 Saturday & Sunday
This exhibition runs through to Sunday, March 30 th, 2014

 

Life through your lens – Wildlife photographer of the year 2013

Mark Steichen (Luxembourg) Badger dream scene

Presented for a third year with all new photographs, this visually striking exhibition from the Natural History Museum, London (NHM), showcases the world’s best wildlife and nature images.

With 100 new photographs found in 18 categories, visitors to the Royal British Museum in Victoria, B.C. can now enjoy the wonders of nature through the lenses of prize-winning photographers. When I visited the museum yesterday, I was truly impressed by the selection of photographs, beautifully displayed in sleek back-lit installations, each photo and accompanying caption telling the inspirational, astonishing and sometimes humorous stories of our fascinating natural world.  The exhibition runs until April 6, 2014.

“An image can alter the way we see, think and feel. Whether captured in the most remote wilderness or taken in the intimacy of your own backyard, a truly great image of nature can change our world view forever.” (NHM London).

To mark 50 years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the NHM wanted even more young photographers to get involved, offering three age group categories for images of any subject matter covered in the adult competition.

‘It takes courage to put your photos forward, but the rewards for those who do are enormous’, says Jim Brandenburg, chair of the jury. ‘When I won Wildlife Photographer of the Year 25 years ago, it opened doors for me. The publicity it generates is astonishing, so I really want to encourage every professional and dedicated amateur to think about entering. It can be a career-defining move.

For almost 50 years, Wildlife Photographer of the Year has pushed boundaries. ‘In the 60s we raised wildlife and nature photography from a simple scientific record into an art form’, says Jim Brandenburg. ‘In the 80s we conveyed environmental and conservation issues through a single image of startling clarity. And in this new century, by using technology to explore nature more deeply, we’ve piqued global curiosity with new ways of seeing a world otherwise lost in a blink. Now, as we launch our 50th competition, we are setting the stage for the future.’

More information on the website of the Natural History Museum in London, and the Royal BC Museum

Seen today – ‘Living with all kinds’ by Trish Shwart

Art works showing interaction between human species and animal world

My dog Merlin is soaking wet. After a one-hour-hike in the pouring rain he’s ready for a nap, while I am looking forward to having an Americano and a chat with painter Trisha Shwart, who is currently showing a small body of her work ‘Living with all kinds’ in Victoria, B.C. But not yet: at first my loyal companion of 5 years needs to be dried, given water and a cookie. And while I am stroking his head before saying good-bye, I marvel about the miracle of this incredible bond between an animal and a human being.

Sign Language

Sign Language by Trish Shwart

Trish, your work shows encounters between humans and animals. How do you think fit animals into our society and culture?

Trish : That is what I have been trying to figure out. We seem to categorize animals – for instance into groups such as dogs and cats, then into the ones we eat, and those we are scared of.

A segregation into different categories?

Trish: Indeed. They are “cute” or “food” or “dangerous” – and we allocate certain characteristics to the animals in each of these categories. Cute pets, for example, are often described as being emotionally intelligent. They instinctively know what their owner likes or finds annoying. We know that an animal can be an effective therapy for people who are sick or stressed.

And there are the ones we eat …

Trish: Few of us who live in a city have ever had daily contact with these animals. Perhaps as a balm to our own discomfort, we wrongly describe the animals we eat (cows, pigs, fish, chickens) as ‘dumb’ and ‘unfeeling’.

We cage dangerous animals for our safe viewing (in zoos) and mythologize them as predatory (cougars, lions, tigers). They live on our terms in the environments we create for them.

Bird Dog, Acrylic on Paper

Bird Dog, Acrylic on Paper by Trish Shwart

And yet we admire them.

Trish: Correct – we refer to people as having “eagle eyes” or the “strength of a lion” or being “smart like a fox”.

So, what does the way in which we segregate animals tell us about our own species?

Trish: As it turns out several big thinkers, philosophers and scientists have spent a lot of time thinking about this very topic. I don’t begin to presume that I can answer the question, but I hope my paintings and drawings initiate the kinds of conversations that might help us get some answers.

You are using mixed media in most of your artwork?

Trish: Yes, I am aiming at connecting painting and photography. In a world where there are so many options I deliberately merge the two media to tell a more complex story. I let the photograph do the work.

What does art mean for you?

Trish: The freedom – which admittedly is first world luxury – to think about whatever I want to paint, whenever I want. It is an incredible opportunity that lets me follow my imagination.

Anniversary Dance, Mixed media

Anniversary Dance, Mixed media, by Trish Shwart

“I am still thinking about how we relate to animals. Some we keep as pets, some we eat and some we fear. In some cultures children are told that they have an animal spirit that becomes a totem for them. In The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman individuals have their own animal daemon. They cannot survive without their daemon and when their daemon feels pain, so do the humans. In this image I am playing with what is real and what isn’t real. Are we connected to animal spirits? Are these people with masks?”

A small body of Trish Shwart’s work dealing with how we relate to animals is showing at Bubby’s Kitchen located in the Cook St village in Victoria, BC.  until the end of this month. The work asks questions about connections with animals and our ability to know our own selves.

About the artist:

Trishshwart.com