His sister Karen's unforced capacity for delight made Charles's own recurrent despondency more difficult to bear. Karen was always saying "Listen!" or "Look!" as though there was fresh cause for astonishment in every sensory trifle. She was either hurrying to and fro, releasing her vast store of life energy, or sitting entranced by something that had stirred (again) her never idle curiosity. When he thought back on her as a grown up, she was always in her favourite garden, at first hidden by the tall grass, and then rising up till he could see her, lost in some intense private dream. She waved an old cloth sack at him, and beckoned him to join her. How could he have ever resented these invitations, her touching willingness to share things with him? Perhaps it was because he couldn't match her spirit, her gift for taking pleasure, her belief. Charles had eventually become an artist, in large part he concluded in order to overcome his persistent sense of lack. His art was a way to find the place where Karen awaited him, as though she had left a path of footprints in the snow and his task was to put his own feet precisely inside them and follow her lead.
Dream Home continues with the themes of The Brain Uncoiled in which I explore our evolving consciousness and how humanity merges with nature. During my daily walks in St. Vital Park, Winnipeg, I notice that the light appears to envelop the foliage - like our human effort to consciously assimilate the distractions of daily activities - and finds its way past them to light up my path on the pavement. I imagine these flickering patterns of light to represent consciousness of the human mind. Each painting explores how the mind, in a state of still surrender or as dense avalanches of brain activity, can be likened to light in nature.
The Brain Uncoiled is a series of eighteen square paintings that examine alexithymia, a condition marked by failing to identify and name an emotional experience. This work experiments with mixed media representation of emotions. Each 40" square painting exposes an emotion secreted by the cerebral cortex and morphed with mixed media on canvas, as though magnified in a Petri dish, to become concrete, observable and public.
A hundred years ago the Futurists celebrated speed and our technological triumph over nature. Today there is much concern about how people are adversely affected by this conquest. On one hand, scientists predict a transhuman existence where we can order a set of lungs from the organ store or download intelligence on a computer. On the other, many object to a future of science fiction. The International Slow Movement is the quiet motor that breaths life into the prophecies of McLuhan and others, who saw that human beings, not designed to live at the speed of light, are destined for an inevitable cultural reversal. My paintings are about this reversal. Youth engaged against the speedy Muybridge figures celebrates the survival of nature in the face of technological acceleration.
These panels are about our fickle emotional and physical existence marked by happenstance, circumstance and choice. They are records of various overlapping chapters of my life. The Letter was inspired by a series of emotionally charged letters, the circumstances surrounding the letters, and the feelings they evoked in all persons involved. The Handicap is a tribute to the 9-5 labourer. It is a satirical look at a job situation I was dependent on for a long time. The suction pit, lined with a safety net, in the bottom right, represents the conflict of choosing the promise of security versus the more liberating but financially risky pursuit of art making.