This talk will be about the making of the History of Illustration book, that I have been working on since 2012. It will be a critical examination of illustrators' education, the pressures of publishing in today's market, the pros and cons of collective approaches to writing, and issues of canon, diversity, and inclusion. Monday March 6, 2017, York University, Toronto.
My solo exhibition The Garden of Earthly Plights runs June 2-30, 2015 at B-Contemporary Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario (226 James St N). The opening is June 12, during the ArtCrawl. If you have not yet been to one of these, they are a lot of fun -- kind of a street party. It draws many hundreds of locals and tourists every month.
The title of this exhibition refers to Hieronymous Bosch’s 1504 triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, which is often interpreted as a moral warning against the excesses of unchecked pleasures. Bosch’s cautionary tale applies very well to today’s environmental crises and the changes that humans in the pursuit of pleasure and profit have irremediably wrought in nature.
A curious paradox affects our reception of Bosch’s work: he painted so beautifully that we are drawn to, rather than repelled by, the scenes he perhaps wished us to avoid. Is it a failure? Or is this fatal attraction to the unnatural exactly what he wished us to introspectively and self-critically contemplate?
My work explores the space of questionable attraction by mining tensions between opposites: the familiar and the uncanny, abstraction and figuration, chaos and control, loveliness and horror. Forms imply mutation, explosion, disease, and monstrosity, yet a surreal new beauty emerges. Decay yields to the irrepressible force of life, albeit in a different mode. Shall we embrace it?