Contemporary artists play an important role in documenting periods of change and the evolution of contemporary life. Having an awareness of social space and the alteration, reclamation, production and expansion of our environment generates artistic responses that have been greatly affected by the phenomenon of urbanism. The growth of urban culture inherently generates tensions and reactions within society. The specific dynamics of urbanism have helped shape our culture, our cultural production of space, our perceptions, the development of our environment, and ultimately have affected the way we live. Artists have responded to their urban surroundings as the subject to inspire their work and also as the structure or support to contain their work. As a Canadian artist residing in an urban area that is undergoing revitalization at its core and expansion at its periphery, I feel an exploration and interpretation of the urban dynamic is important to understanding how our society operates within such circumstances.
I am interested in the ways people inhabit space and the inherent tensions and energies generated within the complexities of our dynamically changing and evolving urban space. My work incorporates an accumulative process that reflects the complexity of social space, while illustrating familiar urban and suburban spaces and showcasing architecture that relates to forms common in contemporary North American society.
My paintings are grounded in representation and depict invented spaces with altering perspectives, surprising shifts in scale and unorthodox sight lines. Though my work explores representation it also osculates between figuration and abstraction invoking a sense of motion and tension, as the spaces are intended to represent a state of flux and reflect a continual change in styles and trends in contemporary society. My work also examines figures in these environments. The use of figures in the work allows for a psychological examination of how I think the depicted figures would co-habit their embellished environments. I contemplate and develop spaces that are not made up of mere generic containers were people would live, but I employ the idea that an urban space is a unique, living and evolving space that is constantly adapting and developing according to individuals’ needs and cultural trends. It is my notion that urban spaces have become a centre of living energy.
Through the physicality of the medium, the insistence on the material qualities of paint and the construction of images that reference the picture plane, I call attention to the surface’s flatness and combine it with representational image making. I want the images in my work to slowly reveal itself to the viewer, as the surface of the paintings transforms from abstract passages into rendered passages. I feel the added dynamism and tension in my paintings is caused by the materiality of the paintings surface against the rendered illusionary spaces. As you try to traverse the space of the painting, the disruption of surface’s material insistence repels you back to the surface of the work; you are unable to rest on the desired vanishing point. The constant back and forth activity causes the added dynamic tension and draws you in and out of the works.
I have always had an interest surrounding social interaction and architectural space, though throughout the past few years I have been articulating the compositional elements within my work and highlighting the dynamism of spaces in my work through exposing my process. I explore a variation of paint application, expressive mark making, bright under-painting and optical mixing. The bright under paintings act as unifying devices that localizes colour and provide the viewer with entrance and exit points throughout the painting. The layering of colour and forms and the combination of existing, familiar forms with imagined components acts as a visual dialect that expresses my interpretation of the urban dynamic. I want my work to allow for the viewer’s engagement on multiple levels. It is my intention that the artificial constructions I create will generate contemplation of the ongoing development of the social spaces in which we live. The spatial relationships that exist between humanity and architectural spaces are integral to an understanding of our visual world, as we make deliberate choices to define our surrounding spaces we are ultimately defined and affected by the spaces that surround us.