Thursday, January 28, 2010

New prints - Water in the Wilderness:Northwestern Ontario

Quetico/French Lake
colour block print

Posted below are a few photos that show some of the new work from my series titled Water in the Wilderness:Northwestern Ontario on display at Gallery Stratford
I addition there are several other prints from this series featured in a few of my previous blog posts

Artist Statement

We are living in a time of great concern with regards to the welfare of our planet.
Forces of change are occurring that are playing a major role in factors that affect the natural world and ultimately its survival. One important area of concern is water.
Water is of great importance as a basic element that provides sustenance for all life.
In nature it provides a source of nourishment and habitat for aquatic based life such as insects, fish, bird and animal life. It carries nutrients, minerals and the seeds of life in its flow. It is instrumental in shaping and defining the landscape through its own natural processes.

Water is also a common theme in many of the works I produce as a visual artist.
This connection may be due to the influence of having lived a good majority of my life along the shores of Lake Superior, the largest body of fresh water in the world. The region also contains vast areas of boreal forest that encompass a large number of fresh water rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and marshes. There is an incredible biodiversity that exists in Northwestern Ontario that is accented by an array of unique species of flora and fauna. All are dependent for their survival on a continuous supply of life sustaining fresh water.

I have had the good fortune to observe this relationship first hand during journeys by canoe to remote wilderness locations that use numerous river systems and portages between lakes. I have hiked on foot through the woods and followed along or directly through streams and shores and waters of lakes or ponds to reach interesting remote destinations. Many of these have been recorded and stored on my camera, which I use as a means of acquiring source material. This collected photo imagery often serves as reference material that is used as the basis for my work. The basic composition that I derive from a photo is then translated to an artistic study using a variety of traditional and modern printmaking disciplines. As that image develops either above or below the surface of a particular matrix it frequently takes on a life of its own. I will focus on a particular area or point of interest in the work where a fair amount of time is spent placing emphasis on details in the image.

The intention with this series of work is to relay some of my personal observations that examine the influence of fresh water in the realm of the natural world is it exists in the wild. I have a fascination not only with landscape which is a prominent component in many of my images, but also with the structures and forms that are found in the many varieties of organic life. With this series I have chosen to illustrate the important interconnectedness that exists between the landscape, living things and the element of water. I present these studies in the form of a visual diary that capture my experiences as individual moments that reflect a particular time and place. As forces of change proceed to alter these habitats and ecosystems these studies might serve as a record for future generations.
The images are derived from a variety of surfaces that employ several types of printmaking techniques. These include serigraphy, relief block, collagraph plate, intaglio plate and photopolymer gravure. It doesn’t matter what discipline is employed, for each one will present a set of challenges that force me to think about, learn from and ultimately expand my levels of skill and expertise in that particular medium.
Some of the images have incorporated the combination of media such as the addition of watercolour applied through hand colouring. The computer has also been used as a tool for creating positives in the photo polymer process and also printing of opaque positives that have been exposed onto photo-emulsion coated surfaces that were used in several of the serigraph studies on paper. Polymer plates are a more recent development that allow one to marry new technology with traditional printing processes in a safe non-toxic manner

colour relief reduction block

Superior shoreline - west towards Rossport
series II
various relief surface block print

polymer plate photogravure with hand colour

Young Deer Kamanisitiquia River
polymer plate photogravure / hand colour

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Water Mark - Gallery Stratford Jan 17 - Apr 4, 2010

My series titled Water in the Wilderness - a series of 25 hand printed images on paper

I recently returned from Stratford, Ontario where I attended the opening of Water Mark at Gallery Stratford. My series of 25 images on paper collectively titled Water in the Wilderness were created using a variety of printmaking disciplines and are part of this trio exhibition .

Also of note, the new works are featured in my brand new website which launched this week to coincide with the exhibition. You can view the Water in the Wilderness series as well as some older works still available for sale by clicking the following link:

There is a link in the site to archives where you can view older artwork that was created using other mediums in addition to printmaking.

Gallery Stratford on Romeo St. in Stratford, Ontario. It was once a water pump house.

Besides being present for the docent walk through I also gave an address about my work to those in attendance during the opening on Sunday Jan 17.

The show also features a series of over 45 various size wood engravings by Stratford printmaker Gerard Brender a Brandis and a series of 12 aquatic theme monoprints by another Stratford based artist, Lucinda Jones.

Special thanks to Gallery Stratford staff and Carla Garnet, the guest curator who worked with the artists and facilitated the decision making for presentation of the work.
I also wish to acknowledge the assitance of the Ontario Arts Council. The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

left to right: Gerard Brender a Brandis, Carla Garnet, Lucinda Jones,myself and Zhe Gu Director of Gallery Stratford.

Opening reception for Water Mark on Sunday January 17, 2010.

Educational display case for Lucinda Jones

Educational display case for Gerard Brender a Brandis

Educational display for Brian Holden

The artists were also asked by the curator to supply materials for an education display showing tools, surfaces and source sketches and photo material used in the creation of our printmaking. is a looped video that was filmed on site as it appears playing on the montior in the gallery and is another component of our trio showcase.

It is composed of four short video clips, the first and last clips by yours truly and the middle two clips provided by Lucinda Jones. My segments were recorded last fall and originate from two remote Northwestern Ontario locations. This video display has been included as additional source material along with the items each of us provided for the display cases.