1-14 October 2006
The name of this exhibition could just as easily have been exposing, peeling or delayering but none of those words has the deliciously positive feel to it that unwrapping does. To me it is an emotional word linked to the opening of presents, to that heart stopping feeling as you turn back the paper to see a corner of something exposed.
As the wrapping falls away you take the object in your hand and turn it examining it from every angle. It may be a book, clothing or an object to treasure. with its tactile feel in your hand. But the process of unwrapping is a process of revealing.
Many Asian countries have traditions associated with wrapping and unwrapping. Much of it involves honouring the object being wrapped or the receiver.
There are many ways in which unwrapping can be applied to this exhibition.
Firstly I feel that I have been unwrapping myself – removing layers of unwanted clothing but in this case unwrapping layers of social conditioning, financial pressure and fear of what other people will think.
Secondly I have been unwrapping processes. I had my first camera when I was eight. I was bitterly disappointed with the size and fuzziness of the images. In Canada in the early 70’s I had my first single lens reflex and more than one lens. I bought black and white film in lengths of 300 feet and wound it into useable amounts. My father saw my passion and financed an enlarger for my darkroom. I was frustrated that a colour darkroom was way out of reach.
Years later I accidentally but completely crunched my analogue camera into nothingness and so started the digital journey. Along with the camera exploration came intense experimentation with new printing processes. Over a four year period I put every possible piece of paper through the ink jet printer and even some fabric as well.
When introduced to giclee printing I immediately found what I had been searching for over many years. Accessible colour and control on beautiful paper larger than a post card. This was truly unwrapping a wonderful gift.
The work in this show falls into different themes and has caused me to unwrap my approach to the subject matter. I have always been interested in the incidental marks of man and nature particularly those marks that have been worn into the environment over a period of time.
Now I see those marks as part of a cycle, and the cycle itself is an unwrapping process. The bud of a flower unwraps, the stamens swell, the petals stretch and then wilt, fall and expose the seed. The leaves which were once tightly curled now recurl as the moisture leaves and the green turns to brown. The autumn leaves fall unwrapping the branches leaving the beautiful linear boughs drawing their essence against the sky.
Buildings that were used for commerce and industry become outdated, showing the patina of age and wear. Surfaces are exposed, spaces are abandoned and decay increases. In that decay is also the potential to for a new beginning.
But more than anything my way of seeing the world is unwrapping. It’s only recently that I have used the word artist in regard to myself and allowed myself the luxury of just looking. I am recording what I see by sensing, drawing, writing and photographing. Each time I look I experience the joy of unwrapping - a new colour, a new mark, a new idea.