November 8 @ 9:00 am - December 11 @ 5:00 pm
AOE GALLERY SEASON
This series, entitled Erasure, explores how urbanization is stripping wildlife of their habitat and leading to their demise. While the process is going on worldwide, my focus is on the Canadian wilds: the World Wildlife Fund’s September 2017 report shows that half of Canadian wildlife species are in serious population decline and that a key factor is habitat loss.
The series places us in a space that is familiar yet askew – the colours are aggressively fluorescent and there are floating brains and wraithlike animals. This jarring world asks us to reflect on what is happening to nonhuman life on the planet and whether we are implicated in the paving over of animals’ space. The hybrid approach mixes realism with fantastic landscapes, flat with three dimensional and insistently bright colours to speak about our contemporary relationship with the wilderness.
Animals are shown overlooking their domains which, in some cases, have shrunk to postage stamp size. In other cases, the process is impending. In one of the sub-series, a giant brain hovers over the landscape, symbolizing human colonizing intentions and our tendency to overvalue our cleverness, set ourselves up as masters of the world and forget about our responsibility to other living creatures. The roughed in animals suggest that the process of erasing them from the landscape is well underway.
In other pieces, the suburbs are encroaching. A larger than life rabbit looks out, its size meant to suggest the magnitude of the anxiety created by the loss of its natural habitat. The diminutive and colourful suburbs are meant to point to the conflict we feel, knowing as we do that we need to engage in protecting our world while at the same time wanting to retreat home to refuge and shut the door on it all.
Moose and Fridges shows the iconic Canadian moose sandwiched between refrigerators, with the neon background evoking the urbanization of wild spaces. The fridges have either been discarded (the door is off one), symbolizing the throwaway society in which we live or, given that the fridges are lined up in fairly pristine order and there is a tiled floor referencing the indoors, we could in fact be in an appliance store which has set up on the spot where the forest once was. What is sure is that the moose’s available land has shrunk to dimensions just sufficient to fit his body. The TV and clouds suggest we’re living in a dream. The painting’s thesis is that our response to wildlife is nostalgic and romantic, like our appreciation of pastel coloured fridges, but that this is an inadequate response to the razing of our natural world.
The exhibit asks us to consider our role as defenders of wildlife for the sake of the animals and for our own, as the natural world and our heritage as Canadians and as world citizens is being diminished around us.
Meet the artist:
Sunday, November 25, 2018
From 1 PM to 3 PM