We're not out of the woods yet
Martha Street Gallery
, Winnipeg
May 1 to June 19 2015

detail of the installation "We aren't out of the woods yet"

see review by Steven Leyden Cochrane "Get lost, kid" in the Winnipeg Free Press

In this print installation at Martha Street Studio gallery, visitors will see an abstracted forest, a forest edge and a clearing  with a variety of creatures and shapes, some hidden and some emerging from the underbrush into the clarity of the white gallery walls. This work grows out of the choices inevitably made in any depiction of landscape, particularly when we must edit out the underbrush to get to the view.  Young or old, we all try to  make sense of the world and to find meaning in our lives - to find the view from a controlling vantage point - the  hilltop, where all points converge on us and from us.  We make sense of a confusing inner and outer world by creating forms, telling stories and composing the through lines of melody.  We look for useful patterns and  significant detail and try to avoid  both oversimplifying and drawing every leaf. 

But part of maturing is to accept more ambiguity, nuance, and complexity - more underbrush and less control. We can see beyond the evil stepmother and the beautiful princess of childhood fairytales.  Yet we still like moral certainty and a happy ending. When we are frightened by the news in the world,  often we revert to the comfort of our childhood stereotypes and oversimplify.   Perhaps this is our greatest personal and social challenge, to stay complex and resist the stereotype. Because even if the childıs heroes were too simple, the childıs idealism was not.

This installation has all the elements for a good story:  Falling stars. A forest. A mysterious creature. A puppet child. A thrilling, red object. Spatial complexity and symbolic language. You are encouraged either to tell yourself  the story that you need to hear again  or to start coping with the ambiguity of a complicated drama.  To help take you back to that simpler time and, at the same time, as a measure of progress ( or change in you since then)  - the artist provides  a choice of traveling companion that you can carry through the exhibition: a child, a tree or a terror-arousing, black-shape-shifting thing. Or you can go it alone in an adult way and embrace this world's glorious confusion.  

Thanks to the very welcoming group at Martha St, - Larry, Suzie, Sarah, Peter, Richard, Andrew, Abby, Sean and Wenke

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