It would seem that we have the innate desire to be surrounded by nature. This manifests through the collection and installation of a number of elements in our homes. Wood furniture, stone masonry, plants, animals (and animal artefacts), fountains, sand, shells, and textiles become signifiers of the portion of the world that we have become so detached. This also includes man-made nature-themed things, like jewellery, ceramics, sculptures, drawings, paintings and photographs; all of which often lack a human presence.
Oddly, our collective need to gather these objects often has a negative effect on the environment that we so wish to emulate. Synthetic materials are mass-produced using non-biodegradable or friendly substances in order to fill a need for a cheaper alternative, and ultimately harm nature though their non-permanent essence. Sometimes this non-permanence is due to manufacturing imperfections that cause defects, or through constant changes in interior design taste, that dictates what is trending.
We become trapped in a vicious cycle of consuming false natural things because ‘we love nature’, while simultaneously destroying it through unsustainable depletion of land and resources to feed these desires.
This series is the grad piece created for Alberta University of the Arts (formerly ACAD) and is a bookend for the 5 years spent there. There are 5 paintings, each one a portrait of a member of my family and myself. Mine was the last one created (the 5th one), as I am the 5 child as well. The portraits are built to give the appearance of being like Inuit drums, referencing my Inuk heritage. The materials-painting on stretched canvas reference the European aspect of my lineage and that amalgamation of meaning and material was pivotal to these pieces. This is to pay homage to those ancestries. Each portrait was made through a process of creating the background that represented in some way that particular person, then using a visualization of a sound wave for the second form that interjects through the background, then finally a slightly ambiguous portrait of that person drawn and beaded onto the canvas. There are many layers of meaning and purpose for these pieces, and they acted as an act of self-care and catharsis that came from an intuitive place.