This portrait of my father is the latest in a series that I began a few years ago after my mother passed away. From a broad perspective, the paintings are contemplations of loss and resilience, and memory and hope, as seen and felt through my dad. On a personal level, they are less concerned with precise likeness and more concerned with a dialogue between him and me, an exploration of his life and traits (known and unknown), and of our relationship.
I try not to question the compulsion to add what may seem like random elements to paintings. In this image the birds came as fitting conduits of thought passing between my sitter and me. They were there from the start—emerging at the same time as the portrait. Sadly and unexpectedly, my father recently passed away prior to the completion of this painting. The birds and the painting itself have taken on new meaning since.
Though I come from a background of classical training and hold to many technical aspects of indirect painting, I don’t feel bound by strict representation. I attempt to build a painting in such a way that the history of staggered paint layers and the progression of mark-making result in something that is unexpected and unforeseen at the onset. I want to be surprised by the end result and not be sure of how I got there.
I currently live, paint, and teach in Toronto, Ontario. After receiving my M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art and, living in New York City for a time following, it felt important to return home to Canada to pursue my career on Canadian soil. My work is primarily figurative with an emphasis on the exploration of the poetic nature of colour, and on the use of colour as a sculptural tool in painting.