My upcoming show at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery in 2024 will feature new works that will blend content (themes) with subjects (people, portraits, surreal landscapes, animals, objects, etc.) and people’s actions portraying psychological states immersed in events within works that could be called allegorical. Every so often I expand on ideas I came up with in my twenties, two being The Noble Death of a Poet, and Mr. F.. The notion of creating “masterpieces,” signature works that encapsulate aspects of the human condition in situations that bring out the best or worst of our nature, has been a lofty goal I’ve wanted to attempt ever since I was a child. I was able to explore for hours every night for two weeks the vast collection of amazing books belonging to a family friend, Lakehead University art historian, Patricia Vervoort. I slept on an inflatable mattress on the floor of her office while her family vacationed in Florida. The works of Théodore Géricault, Francisco Goya, Henry Fuseli, Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt van Rijn, and many others, were captivating and inspiring.
For nearly thirty years now I’ve been playing with small and big themes in my children’s picture books. In the process I’ve learned how to connect with an audience – not just children, but adults as well. I can communicate themes, not the all too familiar subjective interpretations of the reader/viewer, but themes that connect with the reader/viewer, that can be “read” emotionally and intellectually, and often garner real emotional and intellectual responses that create discussion, and not to mention, real fans. I’ve managed to garner dedicated supporters, people who regularly encourage me to create more books and paintings. And every time someone buys one of my books I don’t think of the twenty dollars as only money, but as a vote, a vote for me and my work.
I’m fascinated by the latest findings made by evolutionary biologists and others regarding the human condition. Human commonalities and continuities that are innate, universal, and perennial are now ever more discoverable, and the results are adding to the knowledge of who we are as human beings. This is happening at a quickening and often problematic pace. One major discovery is that we human beings are far more altruistic than we had ever imagined. Although we are equally capable of murder and great kindnesses, the improvements of our environments and ability to understand our human
commonalities in expanding communities of shared interests allows for more of our altruistic nature to thrive. This makes me very hopeful and it’s certainly something to celebrate. Still, there is a lot to consider and this is where I get to be a bit of an agitator and explore the ongoing problematic aspects of our nature, done with the hopeful goal of offering something of value to the viewing public.
The images here show what I’m capable of and hint at how I plan to approach the new works. Although the styles and subjects of the paintings will vary, the surreal operatic qualities will all be related. I will post the drawings and “drop sheets” that are created for the show here, and post the completed works after the show’s opening in 2024.
Thank you for your time.