Artist Statement

Over my life I have formed strong relationships with plants and landscapes and I paint the things I know and love. These landscapes have been what I take solace in and what I have the most experience with. This is a cornerstone of my artistic foundation, particularly as a self-taught artist. My school of thought is about the soul within all experience, and nature as pointing to God. I hope my work can help people see things in a beautiful way.

You made the heavens, the highest heavens, and all their host, the earth and everything upon it, the seas and everything in them. You keep them all alive.

Nehemiah 9:6, Tanakh, JPS, 1985

Developing an artistic ability has meant learning to see and relate to art differently. My taste changes and I engage with different kinds of art and subject matters and I find I like things I didn’t know I liked. This has been an unexpected window into myself and the world. When I begin to learn how to do something it opens up a new realm of appreciation for that kind of thing. Making my own brushes, pigments, papers, and so on, even if just as brief experiments, forever changes what I look at when I encounter these things. I like to enjoy the art I make, but even when I don’t, I feel like I’m becoming part of the world in a new way, the physical, natural world, but also the spiritual, aesthetic, and emotional world.

I recognize the privilege of working in unceded Coast Salish territories in Chilliwack and Vancouver, to which Indigenous Peoples hold unextinguished rights and title. In trying to portray the beauty of nature, I feel the tension between the transcendental significance of land beyond the human on the one hand, and the risk of encouraging a view of nature as blank and colonizable on the other. I try to balance a reassuring beauty of well-known places with critical political and primordial undertones that frame the beautiful as a connection between what we appreciate aesthetically and what we prefer to be willfully ignorant of. I like to convey a feeling of nature looking at us but not being recognized. The folk-art aspect of my work plays into this tension. Not that beauty is false, but rather, counterposed with more rupturing elements it connects with the more troubled being we thought we could take for granted. Sources I have found helpful for my own reflection are Marker, 2006; Spence, 1996; Furniss, 1997; Rotz, 2017; and Donald, 2009, which can be found below.

Influences

Straight photography, Russian & Ukrainian impressionism, philosophical realism and phenomenology, Liberal Anabaptist Christian world-view, philosophical Taoism, Chinese ink wash painting.

Chien Chung Wei (Taiwan), Алексей Савченко / Aleksey Savchenko (Russia), Atanas Matsoureff (Bulgaria), Бато Дугаржапова / Bato Dugarzhapov (Russia), Dmitriy Permiakov (Russia), Данчев Сергей / Danchev Sergey (Kazakhstan then Russia, 1981-), Denys Gorodnychyi (Ukraine), Amit Gautam (India), Сосунов Дмитрий / Sosunov Dmitry (Russia), Bhupinder Singh (India then Canada), Сергей Темерев / Sergey Temerev (Russia), Stanislaw Zoladz (Poland then Sweden, 1952-), Dean Mitchell (USA), Eric Merrell (USA), Victor Goertz (Canada), Геннадий Исаев / Gena Isaeff (Russia), Исаа́к Ильи́ч Левита́н / Isaac Ilyich Levitan (Russia, 1860-1900), Andrew Wyeth (USA, 1917-2009), Gordon A. Smith (England then Canada, 1919-2020), Mark Carder (USA), Harry Stooshinoff (Canada), Edward Weston (USA), Paul Strand (USA), Georgia O’Keefe (USA), Emily Carr (Canada), Sam Rocha (Canada), 홍성일 / Hong Seongil (Korea), Josef Schmidt (Canada), Anson Vogt (Canada).

Environmental Processes

I carefully research and select commercial and local pigments and know a certain amount about the industry and sustainability of paint and paper. I try to reduce waste produced by painting. I don’t put wash-water down the drain, I minimize rags used, and avoid lead, cadmium, and cobalt. At times I experiment with locally and responsibly producing pigments, binders, paper fibers, and brush hairs, but this remains aspirational as I balance the relative footprints and relationalities of commercial and local products.

Archival Materials

I strive to use long-lasting archival materials. I use very light-fast and permanent pigments. I use acid-free cotton or acid-free buffered alpha-cellulose papers, and for mounting, acid-free, lignin-free, and buffered conservation mats and acid-free backing and tape. I use acrylic gesso under oils. Please inquire for exceptions and details about specific works and for care instructions see this handout. Nevertheless, it is generally a good practice to limit direct sun exposure of any art. Conversely, I consider the need for longevity against the counterbalancing objective of sustainability. I generally aim toward longevity without toxicity, whereas for commissions I can tailor materials for a particular lifespan.

References

Clegg, D. J., & Marker, M. (2021). The metaphysics of counselling history on colonized land. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 55(2), 232–257. https://doi.org/10.47634/cjcp.v55i2.71141

Clegg, D. J. (2020). A decolonial critique of metaphysics in counselling psychology education [University of British Columbia]. https://doi.org/10.14288/1.0392917

Donald, D., T. (2009). Forts, curriculum, and Indigenous métissage: Imagining decolonization of Aboriginal-Canadian relations in educational contexts. First Nations Perspectives, 2(1), 1–24. https://www.semanticscholar.org/…

Furniss, E. (1997). Pioneers, progress, and the myth of the frontier: The landscape of public history in rural British Columbia. BC Studies, 115/116, 7–44. https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i115/6.1721

Marker, M. (2006). After the Makah whale hunt: Indigenous Knowledge and limits to multicultural discourse. Urban Education, 41(5), 482–505. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085906291923

Rotz, S. (2017). ‘They took our beads, it was a fair trade, get over it’: Settler colonial logics, racial hierarchies and material dominance in Canadian agriculture. Geoforum, 82, 158–169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.04.010

Spence, M. D. (1996). Crown of the continent, backbone of the world: The American wilderness ideal and Blackfeet exclusion from Glacier National Park. Environmental History, 1(3), 29–49. https://doi.org/10.2307/3985155