This project began with a photo of half of a tree that I then “butterflied” like a Rorschach test. The result was an image of a perfectly symmetrical tree and since no such thing exists in nature, the image seems slightly “wrong”. I found it interesting that a symmetrical tree looks remarkably anthropomorphic or suggests a strange kind of creature. I was curious to see what the image would look like as a painted image.
I was interested in the fact that the image would undergo a process of transformation: from a very natural and organic form (a tree) to a highly “artificial” form (perfectly symmetrical) and then finally to an image that is re-made as somewhat organic by virtue of being “handcrafted” in paint.
Although I aim for a certain verisimilitude in my work, I am not interested in reproducing the pristine symmetry easily obtained in a photograph.
I find that in the painting process the image undergoes a mutation that results in an image of a tree that looks neither fully natural nor unnatural. It looks somewhat hallucinatory –simultaneously quotidian and supernatural –both "tree" and "not tree". I also try to underscore this effect by painting the images life-size so they have a physical presence similar to that of an actual tree and by depicting them in "natural" light.
With the Gods and Monsters series I took a major element from my previous paintings (trees) and headed into new territory by emphasizing the more surreal or preternatural aspects of my work. I have made ten finished paintings in this "pantheon" of tree/creatures. They were exhibited in November 2014 at the Galerie McClure in Montreal and accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.