Acrylic on Masonite
My art has always been reflective of my life -- a meeting of a rural upbringing, and more recent urban experiences, focussed around figures, memory, the plight of mankind and our place in the natural world. This painting was inspired by two events in my life: the first was living in Toronto where an old train sat for many years, abandoned on the tracks (in the Leaside area). The doors of each car were left wide open on both sides so you could see through it, creating graphic shapes that if you stood back to observe, looked like a series of frames hung in the sky. The second event was reading about a Jewish woman (Sonia) and her sister who were spared from death at Auschwitz because they were assigned work disassembling the shoes of murdered Jews. One morning, Sonia saw a train arrive from Hungary whose occupants were headed straight to the gas chamber and one woman who stepped off the train was still wearing her wedding dress. The thought of being murdered on the one of the happiest days of your life — a beginning and an end — was so paralyzing to me, I had to record it somehow. The freedom of the swallows, and the presence of the crow, the fox hidden in the grass, the flawless lace of the dress, the artist rushing to capture a moment in time (that a photograph would have normally preserved), all serve as reminders of the urgency and looming fate of (in)humanity.
Obviously I appreciate and encourage individuals interpretations and meaning of a work, and this painting would hopefully encourage unique and greater conversations.