A few years ago I witnessed a couple solemnly evaluating an emergency exit sign in a contemporary art gallery believing it was art. Their earnest yet failed attempt to engage in visual culture for me typified the illegibility of conceptual art practices. At the heart of visual communication is a complex and ever evolving system of signs. While contemporary artists often forgo traditional lexicons in favor of alternative aesthetics and ideologies, I prefer representational painting for its ability to engage diverse audiences through decipherable imagery.
In 2009 I completed my Honours Bachelors of Fine Arts from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Entering a period of post academic assessment, I began consciously filtering acquired ideologies and questioning their utility in a personal, creative and contemporary context. Enamored with Pop’s semiological manipulation of commercialized objects, I strove to create contemporary icons that illustrated my re-evaluation of socio-political ideologies, such as gender stereotyping, mortality, genetic modification, animal rights and environmental sustainability. Influenced by James Rosenquist and Audrey Flack, I created large scale realist paintings in which mundane, recognizable objects were re-contextualized through juxtaposition, enlargement and compositional isolation.
Under the direction of Teemu Maki I received my Masters of Fine Arts at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland in 2013. Derived from a personal need to question the validity of Photorealism in an age that advocates abstract and conceptual art, my thesis investigated the genera of still life painting and its evolution since the Dutch Golden Age. In 2013 I returned home to Thunder Bay to teach and make art. I secured my second Northern Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council and created Swine, a mixed media exhibition exploring over consumption through the metaphor "as greedy as a pig". The exhibition ran from December 2nd, 2016 - March 5th 2017 at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
In 2015 I accepted a Contract Lecturer position at the Faculty of Visual Arts at Lakehead University were I currently teach Introductory Printmaking. In 2016 I co-taught Indigenous Arts and Crafts at the Faculty of Education with Jean Marshall. I run art programs for youth undergoing mental health recovery at the Canadian Mental Heath Association's First Place Clinic Regional Resource Centre, Tangled Arts + Disability, Northwestern Ontario Women's Centre and the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council. I volunteer my time as a Board Member for Definitely Superior Artist Run Center, a Mentor Artist for Die Active Youth Art Collective and as an artist representative on the Public Art Committee for the City of Thunder Bay. In 2017 I was one of twenty-five artists selected for madaabii: s/he goes down to the shore, a commissioning project funded through the Canada Council's New Chapter grant initiative. I am currently researching my new series Crude World which was funded by the Ontario Arts Council and will be exhibited at Definitely Superior Artist Run Center in the Fall of 2019.