Artist Statements

The Work

MODERN WOMEN | A series of large scale portraits based on my reinterpretation of iconic women from the past. We live in a time where it is culturally acceptable for celebrity and beauty to be manufactured commodities—this work is a reflection on that issue. The images are based on women who many believe have in some way made a cultural statement in our history, and who have significance in my own personal narrative.

These portraits are composed of fragments from the past and from my impressions about the future. By deconstructing old images and recomposing new ones, the work engages viewers in the process of reinvention. Similar to the way that mainstream media skews images to relay a totally different meaning from their original intent, Modern Women opens a door of perception that is unique to each individual.

As in much of my current work, these portraits continue the exploration between representation and abstraction. The intent is to provide the viewer with an image that not only provokes thought, but also leads them down their own path of interpretation. 

FRACTURES | In this body of work I explore the balance between representation and abstraction by creating and synthesizing fractured elements from my photography, drawings and video. I also reference and appropriate sources from other types of media that resonate with my initial concepts. These often begin as a series of visual cues related to a larger theme.

The collages and constructs reflect my ideas about storytelling and the process of interpretation. Part of my practice involves several methods of fractured deconstruction. One of these methods is the conversion of a visual file to a text file where I selectively delete information. I then reprocess that file to create an element of distorted information. 

The human form has always played an important role in my work. The fracturing and removal of personal identity in these pieces is a reflection on digital perforation and homogenization of technologies we use in our everyday lives.

The large-scale format invites the viewer to be immersed in the detail of the individual elements and yet still be informed by the whole. Much like the decomposition of billboards along the highways near my home in Mexico, layers and layers of individual story, at a point in time, become one.

RECLAMATIONS | This new series of images came from my explorations on or near decommissioned industrial sites in Canada and the United States. While searching for the macro, I started to investigate the micro. The abstract patterns created by the natural decay in these man made environments, was entrancing. The more something starts to decay, the more abstract it becomes and with that abstraction, an undeniable beauty. I was witnessing nature trying to take back, or reclaim some of these elements originally created for the “betterment of man”.

All over the landscape there are visual cues linking to the past. This body of work started out as a photographic record or document of the waste created at or near abandoned industrial sites. The more time I spent investigating these areas, the more I started to think about markings made by man versus the markings made by time and how the two co-exist.

I started making photographs primarily as reference but quickly realized there was an allegorical content that existed in these environments. Through the use of collage, I could construct images that would both simulate the beauty and the decay that I was witnessing. I could create a new time line for those documented elements. For me, these constructs are symbolic references to the dissonance that exists in those environments. Though the companies that originally created these sites are absent, their presence is always felt.

WATER LILIES | The “Water Lilies” series of images comes from a desire to explore the balance between representation and abstraction. Because these images are made from double exposures in a Polaroid camera, there is not one decisive moment but two. I feel the real decisive moment is at the point where I make the second exposure, for it is this action that brings the first image to life. By juxtaposing scenes in nature or industry with the human form, I’ve tried to create a sense of altered reality or indirectly, a dreamlike fantasy.

MARDI GRAS | Growing up as an aspiring musician and artist in a small northern city in Canada forced me at a young age to look beyond the rigid borders that threatened to define my life. The subculture, mayhem and magic that was Mardi Gras in the early 1980s started as a fascination for me and grew to become an obsession. Between 1983 and 1987, I drove to New Orleans to document a moment in time that in less than a decade would no longer exist. 

In the early 80s the gay Mardi Gras krewes were at their heyday—neither AIDS nor Katrina had laid waste to the city. At this pivotal point in time, Mardi Gras had both a dark edge and simple purity that few would ever witness, and I was compelled to capture this tableau.

My objective with the Mardi Gras body of work was to create a series of portraits juxtaposing the fantasy of masked characters against the grit of the French Quarter streets. My focus was on the gay culture because they were the most open, creative and interactive. I began as a voyeur until I became complicit with a community that embraced me and the ideas around my documentation. Each year that I returned to Mardi Gras, the work became more intimate as my relationships with the central characters deepened. The caliginous beauty of Mardi Gras opened doors to a richer understanding of my own identity and beliefs.

PAST LIVES | Past Lives are excursions into the world of what has been. These quietly graceful images are the resurrection of things past, now brought back in a new light.

In these meticulous, magnified portraits of desiccated plants and flora, I explore elemental ideas of life and afterlife, permanence and transience. On fields of jet black, these delicate remains take on a heroic scale, subtly transformed into poignant contemporary memento mori.

Commissions

EARTH WATER SKY | The photographs in this project came out of my explorations in the areas that the industrial recycling company Newalta operates in. From the shores of the west coast, across Canada to the east coast and south to Texas, my goal was to create a series of abstract images that were linked metaphorically or symbolically to our environment, yet had no direct representation to a specific industry or place in which they were created. The use of black and white on this project helped me to find that simple abstraction that exists in our everyday lives.

FRACTURED LANDSCAPES | I was commissioned by Cenovus to create 26 pieces of art, to be positioned prominently on each floor of their new head office in the spectacular Bow building in Calgary, Alberta. My vision was to create a body of work that reflected the interface between the diverse workings of exploration, facility, the land and the people who shepherd the processes. The images are interpretations of the multiple layers and dimensions that make up the Cenovus story.

Each image is like a chapter in a book, composing a narrative from a variety of elements that illustrate the Company’s foundations. An abstraction of images and ideas, the final interpretations reveal aspects of the story chapter by chapter, while coming together as a powerful whole.