A feeling of melancholy; the simultaneous appreciation and guilt of creating art in a world fraught with injustice and inequality. Why bother painting at all? Plagued by existential ennui, creating art in this new decade demands a certain level of introspection-- an acknowledgement by both artist and viewer that art needs to exist as not just a commentary on the world, but to serve a function to facilitate change, or at least contribute to the discourse. To this end, I make art that critiques tropes surrounding more traditional art forms, to adapt them to a modern setting.
While I have explored a myriad of mediums, painting is the one I most often come back to, landscape being my subject of choice. The works of the Group of Seven, particularly J.E.H. MacDonald, are the inspiration for my work. His paintings are void of human subjects, despite the landscape being very much inhabited. This helped reinforce colonial efforts to assert the white settlers as the first and rightful inhabitants of Canada. While the traditional landscape attempts to portray the artist’s view as a factual representation, my work attempts to reconcile my own gaze with the landscapes I paint. The presence of human intervention is an important facet of my work, and this has two purposes. The first is to force the viewer to acknowledge the inherent biases in portraying landscapes, and the second is to bring into conversation the human influence on the landscape. It is important that human structures become a standard in landscape if the medium is to continue, lest the colonial gaze continue to permeate our understanding of the world.