Thursday, January 17, 2019

Proliferation and distillation

I read an article about one of my favourite artists, Francis Alys, recently. His artistic process was explained as a cycle of proliferation and distillation. He picks one idea and riffs on it with as many variations and mediums as he can. Then he distills it into its strongest form.

I'm in a studio season of proliferating.  I made these sketches a year ago in Belfast as references for linoprints. I don't know where it will take me but I am enjoying the process.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Graphite and linen

Belfast process work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Belfast Footage

I finally had a spare afternoon to sort through the footage from last month.
 Here's some of my favourites. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I Am Here Too

I am here too. Found hastily scrawled in a bus shelter. A simple phrase that captures the human experience.

You can learn a lot about a place if you pay attention to details. Words written on walls make a simple message system for the sans-phone subculture. When I walk around I find rude comments and demands for justice. I also find tender encouragements, declarations of love and messages that plead for validation. 

The linens are embroidered with words found on “the street.” The needlework reflects the street culture dichotomy of tough looking tattoos and tender sentiment. Customary with graffiti, words on walls don’t last long. Sitting with the text for hours while I methodically stitch it is like getting to know a new friend. I speak out the words, imagining what prompted the statement and who might have written it. 

The tent drawings are my field notes. They record the hours I spent sitting with people near their tents. Sometimes we talk, and other times I am an entertainer as I put pencil to paper. If the drawing is unfinished, its because the relationship took priority. 

This show is a brief glimpse into an empathetic and overlooked community. The pairing of the drawings with the embroidered text creates a narrative with apocalyptic urgency, reflecting the many challenges facing Vancouver’s most transient citizens. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

'I Am Here Too' at the Orpheum Annex

If you happen to attend a show at The Annex in the next three months, you will see my new show. The date for the open house is still pending but I will update when I have the details. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Exploring the Glen

I went for a wee walk yesterday. I came across this locked gate and asked a woman how to enter the park. It's impossible to take shortcuts here; there are fences everywhere. Big fences, small fences, brick fences, charred fences, fences with razor wire... you get the idea. 

"How do I get in there? All the gates are locked!"
"Aye, I wouldn't go in there if I were you. Lots of undesirables in the park, if ya know what I mean." 

I didn't know what she meant, but I nodded anyway. She had just said my magic words. 
Don't go in there.  

"It's your choice of course. But I wouldn't go in."

I walked down the street and found the entrance to Colin Glen Forest Park. 

The visitors centre woman gave me a booklet where I read about the booming linen industry that grew here, alongside centuries of rivalry between Catholic and Protestant townspeople. I didn't meet any "undesirables" but could hardly ignore the signs warning against "anti-social behaviour". 

I will probably come back. The ideas are percolating.


It's not everyday that a textile artist lands in 'Linenopolis'. What I didn't know before I came to Belfast is that it supported the largest linen industry in the world in the second half of the 19th century.

This week I explored the city through graphite rubbings on fabric. It seemed like a good starting point. I did a similar project in London because there were so many monuments. In Belfast, monuments and commemorative plaques play a different role. Instead of honouring adventures who left to fight in foreign wars and conquer the rest of the world, these words honour the freedom fighters (or terrorists, depending on which side you're on) in their own country. Men who died as a direct result of the hunger strikes during The Troubles, graves marking the deceased from Catholic and Protestant communities. Brick and steel walls called Peace Walls that separate neighbours from any form of interaction.

The piece below collects words from West Belfast's Milltown Cemetery. I would go on about how imfamous this place is, but it's not necessary. Is there a piece of land in this city that hasn't seen sectarian violence?

Years ago I wanted to work towards a show called 'Rend/Mend'. I dropped the idea at the time, but it's resurfacing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Festival installations and the end of summer

This month culminated in a four-day festival in the Midlands of England.  My friends at Space to Breathe commissioned me to make an installation for a reflective prayer tent located at the edge of the festival grounds. As you can imagine, camping in the UK for the last weekend of August was not the best for weather, but there's something about running for shelter from torrential downpour with hundreds of others that really brings people together. 

This installation is called "Even the Heavens Will Speak". 
 It's about disorientation, making sense of our surroundings, handiwork, and promise. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wing of Hope is here

I have a solo show in October! I Am Here Too will be displayed at The Annex, downtown Vancouver. When I return home from the UK I will have two weeks to prepare the work and then it's installed and out of my hands. Here's a small preview. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Final Goodbye

The final act of art (rebellion?) before handing in my keys for my studio.
 In my heart of hearts I will always love this place.