Llewellyn I 59°04'N; 134°05'W, 2014. 32" x 50", oil and graphite on canvas
Kaskawulsh I 60°41'N; 137°53'W, 2014. 32" x 50", oil and graphite on canvas
Kaskawulsh II 60°41'N; 137°53'W, 2014. 54" x 84", oil and graphite on canvas
Llewellyn II 59°04'N; 134°05'W, 2014. 32" x 50", oil and graphite on canvas
Kaskawulsh III 60°44'N; 138°04'W, 2014. 32" x 50", oil and graphite on canvas
Llewellyn III 59°04'N; 134°05'W, 2015. 18" x 24", oil and graphite on canvas
Llewellyn IV 59°04'N; 134°05'W, 2015. 18" x 24", oil and graphite on canvas
The paintings in Glacial are the first works of the multimedia series Mapping Time, which explores imagery from my residency in the North with the Canadian Forces Artists Program.
In August 2013 I travelled extensively in Northern Canada and the High Arctic with the Canadian Forces. My work during these travels involved aerial photography and video of many areas first photographed by Royal Canadian Air Force Photo Squadrons in the early post World War II period. My father flew with them for several years. These Squadrons provided the photographs for the first accurate mapping of the North, needed for Northern defence and military installations such as the DEW Line. The millions of photographs used for these maps are archived at the National Air Photo Library, where I researched early flight lines and images. I was very fortunate to fly over and photograph many of the same locations documented in the NAPL holdings.
In juxtaposing my recent images to the historical photographs I am searching for traces of change, from glaciers in the Yukon, to ice patterns in the Northwest Passage, to human settlements and activities, in extreme and unpredictable terrain now affected by global warming.
The early period that has inspired this work was one of world-wide geopolitical and ideological developments, leading to the Cold War and to harsh policies often acted out on the lives of Northern peoples here in Canada, as in Resolute Bay. Present day pressures over sovereignty and resource exploitation, combined with the forces of climate change that are most damaging in the circumpolar regions, are deeply disturbing. Issues of displacement, refuge and survival, fragility and resilience, of places and peoples, have become ever more critical to my exploration of our relationship to the earth.
The exhibition Glacial is the result of the artist's participation with the Canadian Forces Artists Program. Thank you to the military and civilian personnel who made this work possible.
Financial assistance from the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa is gratefully acknowledged.