Sunday, October 28, 2007




Just back from an opening at The Gallery for my friend Lori Stringer's first solo show, entitled "Breathing Spaces." It's a bit of a surprise to me that this is Lori's the first solo show. These pieces are really remarkable - collections of landscapes that together invoke both breath and space in which to breathe. There is much air and quiet in the paintings, which are done in both oils and watercolours. These landscapes are both meditative and meditations.

Many of these landscapes seem to be late summer and they are perfect for gazing at now, as fall has settled in and the grey and damp days have arrived. It reminds me of the line from Joni Mitchell's song "Urge for Going": I'd like to bring back summertime, and have her stay for just another month or so...but she's got the urge for going and I guess she has to go."

There are two types of landscapes represented and both resonate strongly with me. One type is composed from a sky and a foreground element like a grove or a road or a river that somehow contain things within darkness and silhouette, while offering the expansiveness of sky in which to breathe. These are like the landscapes of my childhood in southern Ontario and the rural UK. The second type are ocean landscapes (or prairie landscapes) in which the land and the ocean and the sky offer wide openness. These are the landscapes I live in now, here on the Pacific coast. The whole show is quite emblematic of a personal narrative for me, and actually helps me to understand a little better the way I feel about living here on the edge of North America.

Worth a visit if you're up in Artisan Square over the next couple of weeks.