Instagram Live Reception: Friday, September 18, 6 pm
Location: Studio Sixty Six, 858 Bank Street unit 101
Omnishambles is a made-up word that hit me with a flash of clarity when I came across it. The word perfectly describes the context that these new paintings were made in. I knew right away it would be the title for this show. These are COVID-19 lockdown paintings. After March 13th, 2020 my life, like everyone’s, was turned upside down.
Working from home, with no access to the studio, the kids off school for months, keeping the household going, painting at night in a temporary corner between the furnace room and the kids’ Lego zone, keeping the virus at bay … all cards were thrown into the air, and are still there—spinning and shifting in constant need of attention to keep them from falling to pieces. Omnishambles.
Many of the figurative paintings in this show were worked out before the lockdown. Not painted, but images decided upon and drawings done. Their slightly off-putting, something-not-quite-rightness fit perfectly with what I was suddenly feeling. Once the lockdown hit, I shifted gears a little and decided to paint images of artists’ studios. All the artists I knew were experiencing the same thing, and I couldn’t help but think about all the suddenly quiet, empty studio spaces. This is not how it’s supposed to be.
For many years, I have methodically divided up the surfaces of paintings. I have needed and found ways to break up images into pieces, to create hard-edged structures where intuition and accidents can get to work. The imagery in this exhibition presents different kinds of situations and states. Each painting in its own way is a product of the difficult and frightening time of its creation. The lines are sharp and the shapes are flat, but the colour is alive and generous. My goal has been to make paintings that are true to the chaos of this strange moment, as chaotic as it has been, but to depict it with a visual language of optimism and joy.