2001 - present

1994 - 2000

1985 - 1993


Artist’s statement



Link to diZegno


Artist's Statement


I was born and grew up in Thunder Bay Ontario, amidst the majestic land formations of Lake Superior and Cambrian Shield rock cuts. These are surroundings that strike mystical chords in the artistic spirit of many visitors; for me it was simply home. I was interested in art and participated in amateur theatre and was later thrilled to find I’d been accepted in the design program at the National Theatre School in Montreal. Living in a large cultural city was an exciting and enriching experience, one that, to my mind, largely over-shadowed the hulking, silent terrain of Northern Ontario. As design students, we explored the arts of civilization for our project research and shared in the hands-on assembly of theatrical costumes and scenery. Hours were spent at the Monument National Theatre and in the narrow warren of rooms above the Théâtre du Rideau Vert. I stayed in Montreal for a few years following NTS as “wardrobe mistress” for Centaur Theatre. Today, this brief chapter of my life in the world of theatre seems to have been a prelude to what I have come to consider my vocation.

When I moved to Toronto I began art studies in what now seems to have been a haphazard manner. I was trying to build on a brief experience at NTS in life drawing class. Where previously drawing the figure was a means toward an end (costume design), it was eventually to become an end in itself. One of the most frustrating things in studying art is finding your direction and it was several years before I found a point of reference to guide me in expressing on canvas what I was learning to observe . This illumination happened while at the Art Students League in New York City for a seven month period in the early eighties. In the steady north light of the school’s painting studios on 57th Street, and to the sounds of cooing of pigeons in the air-well, I encountered classical painting technique. I loved the method and discipline of this training that helped me develop sensitivity towards space, volume and shape. After returning to Toronto I continued studying in this way for several years with John Angel. During the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's my work was shown at a few Toronto art venues and juried shows, with some exhibitions elsewhere in Ontario and the United States. I painted commissioned portraits and worked from still life. I was also asked to present workshops, courses and talks on art in the Greater Toronto Area and enjoyed the new challenge of passing on to others what I was gaining in experience.

I enrolled in a Training and Development program at Ryerson University to learn how to develop instructional material. With the cooperation of the York Region Board of Education and its elementary teachers I completed a final research project on the perceptions and practice of art education. The hypothesis was that for many, art is a mystery requiring natural talent and that this unfortunate misconception is a large barrier toward delivering an important subject in schools.

Soon afterwards I began to develop a set of teachers’ guides on art for grades two to eight. The benefits in understanding visual art elements are more profound than the occasional art/craft class will allow and therefore, my aim was to present art with the same approach and organization found in core subjects, with some added academic value. I also wanted to de-mystify the concepts and jargon for teachers unfamiliar with this topic.

I continued to spend regular days at my studio painting, but had very little time to devote to exhibiting any work. The hiatus from commercial exposure, however, provided opportunity for what I hoped was artistic development. I spent longer on each piece, slowly building up layers and texture and probing for ways to balance empty areas and form.

Artists often explore disciplines other than their own in order to broaden understanding of their craft. In my case, the process of explaining the elements of visual art both in words and pictures made me more aware of the connection between feeling and thinking. I am more concerned with intuition that is drawn up to a conscious level and expressed through intellect.

In a painting, an artist uses visual language to portray real world ideas of form and colour as though they are suspended for a moment in time and space. The expression of this moment is interpreted through the interaction of the subject with its environment. In the end, the fusing of these basic components becomes the painting’s true subject. As a painter, one of my concerns is how well I employ visual elements to convey this collaboration of “what” and “where”.

I think that visual language empowers people, through their own sensibility and understanding, to close the gap between the simple subject imagery of a painting and its more poetic abstract message. Therefore, I try to let the painting communicate directly with the audience through its visual elements. In the end, I hope that the painting will be seen as a beautiful or interesting object, and also that the melding of its aesthetic with the audience’s understanding will be rewarding experience.




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