Nocturnes

I worked on the Nocturne series between 1999 and 2006, initially inspired by wintery prairie landscapes seen during nighttime travels while visiting my home province of Saskatchewan. In the vast, flat sea of darkness, beacons of light shine out from farmhouses miles and miles away, the glow of towns and cities light up the horizon for what seems like days. These travels taught me that the presence of light is what defines the darkness and that darkness is never absolute because of the presence of light. The element that circumscribes every painting in the Nocturne series is light, and the way in which it passes, plays, recedes and shimmers a world view into existence.

Using an a la prima technique of loose, thinly applied layers of translucent oil paint, these paintings were initially small and medium sized works on heavy printmaking paper, then gradually grew into larger works on paper and also medium-sized works on mylar, and eventually grew to be quite large works on canvas. Similarly, the inspiration shifted in response to the nocturnal urban imagery which surrounded me in my night-owl ways of living in downtown Toronto.

In the Nocturne series, my goal is to capture both a fabrication of and a rumination on a geographical soul or place, without being specific about where it is situated; Fragmented images of known and foreign country sides, highways and roadways anywhere, corners of rooms, cities familiar and unfamiliar. A lack of clarity and specificity are integral to this exploration because it is built upon an experiential collection of remembered images and sensations; images and moments that by their nature are ephemeral, never to be repeated glimpses of unexpected beauty. The intent of these paintings is to touch upon what I understand to be essential about an evanescent place and time while using physical isolation to invite reflective observation of an exterior world.