Humankind is notorious for encroaching on natural waterways and abusing resources. In British Columbia, salmon streams are becoming endangered as human populations grow, and the reality of global warming sets in. Human arrogance leads many to believe they have the knowledge and ability to control nature, in turn leading them to exploit natural life-support systems in order to attain a profit and a degree of personal comfort. Contemporary society’s competitive tensions and materialistic attitudes mean that artistic images of environmental issues are all the more important.
Awareness and protection are the motivating factors behind the creation of my salmon spawn series. My aim is to enlighten the viewer to the social, political and environmental issues surrounding the Pacific salmon’s life cycle. I gather information in the field through photographs and video, as well as collecting natural materials, metals and found objects. My artistic process is dictated by the idea, whether it becomes a collage on canvas or a topographical surface made from plaster and found objects on panel. The result is a variety of surfaces that are expressive, tactile and aesthetic, and invite the viewer to touch and interact with the art.
The meanings derived from a painting can be as varied and numerous as the viewers that see the work. The mixed media materials in my work produce meaning that “is determined by the use of the thing, the way an audience uses a painting once it is put in public.”1 Tapies, Gordon Smith, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun have all influenced my work and method of application through their theories on art and use of materials. By analyzing their work in its artistic and social context, I am able to position my own work within contemporary practice.
1. Jasper Johns in Horst De la Croix, Richard G. Tansey, and Diane Kirkpatrick's Gardner's Art Through The Ages.