Posts Tagged ‘Video’
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Art and/as Process – Time

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Have you looked at time compressed into a stone, a million years in your hand? Would not our life seem but a blink of an eye to a mountain?

The passage of time can be looked upon in a wide range of ways. For the figures In Fluidity: Actual Entities & Occasions of Experience (FAEOE) time is caught at a moment in-between breaths. It is a fascinating moment one which I spent a long time mediating on after reading Osho’s ‘The Book of Secrets’ years ago. The book is a collection of meditational practices from around the world and “The space between breaths” is one of the simplest meditations that can be practiced everywhere; well not underwater. What I noticed about the moment between breaths is that it doesn’t really exist, not in a definite stop/start view. As we breathe in we begin to breathe out, and as we breathe out we begin to breathe in. It’s a beautiful, non-friction, fluid process whose contemplation changed things as mundane as a daily TTC commute for me…

     In FAEOE the figures can be thought of as entering and exiting a moment. All we have to work with is a ghostly outline hinted by the various colour shapes as they move in all directions on the sheet of paper. The shapes in themselves are an abstraction of the forces and elements, physical and ephemeral, with which we interact. The work is attempting to illustrate that we, like everything else, are in a constant and dynamic process of change, of becoming.

     This image of a fluid transition from one moment to the next, a continues becoming, started to form when I was reading about the philosophical construct of Actual Entities & Occasions of Experience as defined by Alfred North Whitehead. According to him, as far as I understand, is that each moment presents a new arrangement of matter. This occasion of experience constitutes the ‘reality’ of an actual entity, or a physical construct (rock, person, star…etc). This means that at each moment, that which makes up our physical reality is in a unique, one of a kind arrangement never to be repeated again. It’s not that something ‘is’ or things, people, etc. ‘are’ but rather that everything is always ‘becoming’.

     This is why I am drawn to the metaphor of a river which permanents all aspects of this body of work. It’s a visible moving force of perpetually changing content, yet it still has a place in space, a place that is paradoxically static in our minds. In other words, when thinking along these lines any moment presents an opportunity for discovery and change, where the concept of ‘I am’, ‘this is’ and ‘you are’ is no longer static.

Featured music in the above videos (from top) Too Many ZOOZ, Misfits, The Chemical Brothers

Art and/as Process – A walk by a creek

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When I look at the river, or the Etobicoke creek in this case, there is no doubt that it is in a process of constant change. An entity defined by its flow of content and by its constant redefinition of the space which it occupies. It is there in front of me, yet the ‘it’ is constantly different. Now take out the word river and replace with anything else present in the universe. It is harder to grasp that everything that exists, exists as a flow, a transference of energy and matter. This is what I am attempting to grasp and visualize in my Fluid bodies of work.

     Reality as a flow is an idea interestingly captured in Alfred North Whiteheads “Process Philosophy” (PP) which inspired my 2014/15 Fluid works. Whitehead did not believe that the “material world as composed of atoms each occupying a position in absolute space at an absolute time” (Borchert 2006, 747) but as lines of force where no element is independent, affecting and affected by another in a continuing flow. So when we look at something real like a mountain, a person or a galaxy cluster through the lens of (PP) this would qualify as an Actual Entity which is an Occasion of experience. Considering that all matter is comprised of fluctuating elements, at any given moment that which we perceive is in a unique assemblage which has never occurred before and ever will again.

     With this in-mind the work I am currently preparing for my solo show at J.D. Carrier Art Gallery combines figurative work with abstraction. The figures on the surface are hinted by a variety of fluid shapes floating through space. Their action, nationality, age, their very presence is up for interpretation allowing for the viewer’s occasion of experience with the work. Each figure is like the river, defined by its edges with its content changing with each person’s experience of the work.

     The work will be installed independent of walls on custom built stands allowing for fluid arrangements of fifteen foot lengths of each of the watercolors in a 2500+ square foot space.


Both videos feature music from Mogwai in the background.


Borchert, Donald M. 2006. Whitehead, Alfred North. Vol. 9, in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, by Donald M Borchert, edited by Donald M Borchert, 746-753. Thompson, Gale.

Art and/as Process – Work after work

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When it comes to the creative process I am a believer in little steps, all the time. Since work is a necessity which demands a significant portion of my time I find myself working after work on a regular basis. Every now and then there is an overlap which helps with the grind.

     While developing a prototype display system for my fifteen foot watercolours two overlaps occurred. While moving I got to use the rental van to purchase the materials needed for my prototype and deliver them to the studio.

     My original plan was to do the millwork necessary using my circular saw. Unfortunately do to the mess (dust) and safety issues I had to figure out another way. Luckily the jobsite I have been on for the past few months working on some detail oriented (2mm tolerance) millwork has a very good miter saw.

     So on one of the early Monday mornings I found myself on the Spadina street car with a neatly wrapped up bundle of dimensional lumber (2”x6”x6’) heading up to Yorkville to start work. After a typical 9 hrs with lasers, shims and levels I got to stay behind to mill all the pieces necessary for my stand. This second overlap saved me a lot of grief and I was back on the Spadina street car around 9pm heading back to the studio with a smile on my face to do some more work after work.

“Grinding at work” features CBC radio in the background. “Chopsaw” background music is from a DJ Medicine Man mix.



Art and/as Process – Sanding the cushion pad on magnet

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Picture a snake eating its own tale. It’s a good way to illustrate the creative process. There is no real beginning and end to it: we do things, absorb things some consciously most subconsciously, we doodle, tinker, make to-do lists, deal with logistics, and here and there we mark the cycle with ‘works of art’.

     Having been engaged in this process professionally for over a decade, with some extremely prolific periods, I realized that the artwork in itself is merely the tip of the ice berg. Most people experience art in its ‘final’ form; after the artist, having reached a certain climax with an idea steps back and hands it over to the environment where time and context take over the shaping of the piece.

     That said please take this idea of ‘climax’ with a grain of salt. What this and future videos in the “Art and/as Process” series will focus on are the activities that are part of the creative process, some of which may be obvious others I hope will be surprising. I want to show the everyday, ‘mundane’ aspects of bringing a work of art to existence. I hope to demystify the notion of the ‘artist’ grounding it in everyday activity that overtime results in the acquisition of ideas, creative and hands on skills as well as experiences which in turn are recycled back as artworks, the snake eating its own tale.

The music heard in the background is from the Mule Variations album by Tom Waits, “What is he Building?”