Spirits Meet, detail

Mellusine, detail

Te Deum Revisited, detail

Artist statement 2014

- the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant

I welcome the opportunity to exhibit works that represent my development since the late 90's. This is relevant as it was in the 90's, while working with clay at the Burlington Art Center, that my work became progressively embellished with clay sculpture. This relationship with clay is often at the center of the devotional icons that are in this exhibition.

Ecclesiastical References: As a child, Ecclesiastical art made me aware that man could construct meaningful objects. Within Churches the sculptures in alcoves, the elaborately decorated columns, the altar pieces and stained glass windows, all had a profound impact on me. It is not surprising then, that over the years my work has increasingly been informed by medieval art. It is within this Gothic framework that I can engage in a personal narrative that combines the sacred and the profane. The structure of these works reveals a Journey. By creating portals, windows and boxes, a step by step entry is induced into a spiritual realm where the artist and the spectator can reassess their relationship to the eternal order of Nature while situating oneself within the universal continuum of life.

The Origins of the The Home Shrine: My grandmother had a cabinet-shrine that held the salvaged fragments found after the Szombathely bombings. At every visit the fragments were gently taken out, the stories told and retold. In 1945, my family dug through the rubble of bombs searching for loved ones. As an artist, I often search through demolition yards, saving damaged objects. These evocative objects are then carefully reconstructed into paintings and sculptures that continuously refer to our endangered coastal wetlands.

The Coastal Wetlands - the sacred sites. 20 years ago, my encounter with the salt-water marshes near the Bay of Fundy was so transformative that I purchased a historic church near the Tantramar Marshes. This church is a spiritual haven, a studio and summer home. These coastal marshlands and mudflats, unfettered by human concerns, are daily subjected to the cycle of cleansing and nourishment provided by the most powerful tides in the world. Their vast spaces reassuringly confirm my insignificance within the order of nature, while paradoxically empowering me, by situating me concretely within that order. These marshes have become for me the focal point in which all of life’s experiences are reinterpreted. They are in themselves shrines, and in the process of creation I am compelled to reconnect with them.

Conclusion: Creating private shrines is an ancient ritual shared across all religions and cultures. Thus, my works become devotional altars echoing the ancient legacy of women before their sacred altars. These shrines that man has created have changed very little over time in their intent and aesthetic treatment. One senses that all artists while creating are engaging in some communal worship, finding meaning in life, defining their identity or describing a personalized informal connection with a higher power. Contemporary artists continue to collect, create and reconstruct and record daily observances. In ritualistic re-enactments, we search for meaning in the objects of daily life, and then reduce them all to their simplest personal equations.