Over the past few years, my practice has focused heavily on merging my longstanding interest in painting, and my formal background in jewellery design and metalsmithing. Through extensive material research and exploration, I have sought to challenge what is familiar to both disciplines, and to investigate how they can merge to create something new.
I began to remove my work from the context of the body in order to focus on transforming my paintings on metal into more sculptural, three-dimensional forms. I often start by deconstructing my paintings on metal into a multitude of tiny shapes which I form and connect using traditional metalsmithing techniques. Painting directly on thin sheets of metal allows the actual structure of a painting to be easily manipulated, creating a stronger unification of mediums. Through exploring a more sculptural realm, my work has started to become part of a new context, although the details and intricacies of each piece are sure evidence of a jeweller’s hand.
On the east coast of Canada there are tall grasses that grow near the coastline known as marram grass, a hardy plant species that stabilizes sand dunes. The grasses are thick and lush in the warmer months and weather into golden strands as fall and winter set in. Repeated gusts of harsh wind off the water carve ghostly patterns through the grass. The windswept grasses bear visible traces of the wind’s course and become a humble reminder of the elusive and untameable force of nature.
Traces is a sculptural installation made up of more than thirty small paintings of coastal landscape on copper that have been cut into thin lengths that mimic weathered marram grass. The imagery of the original paintings form deconstructed and obscured imprints of the environmental conditions of the coast. Opaque brushstrokes and controlled hints of metal blend together to conjure echoing sounds of the ocean, while forming a static snapshot of faded memories. Although marram grass can withstand extreme coastal weather and tolerate human encounter, it always seems to carry visible traces of all that passes through.
A special thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their support of the research and creation of this work