The title of this exhibition is slightly tongue in cheek because all of the works were created in the cosy confines of the studio. So the idea of a “wide open country” refers to a country of the mind, the imagination, a wide open interior world.
The original intent of this series was to explore colour. I wanted to make images that were intensely red, deeply yellow or overwhelmingly blue. What happens to a shadow in a yellow place? Why is purple so evasive? When is blue cold and when is it warm?
Along the way, I also wanted to create scenarios that I had never seen before, images that would surprise me. This exploration of the unexpected is interesting territory: intuitive, sometimes playful, enigmatic and often uncertain. Occasionally I begin with a set idea but often I put objects next to each other and they begin to tell stories. Objects talk to each other and become the fodder for strange narratives, fairy tales and psychological inquiry.
Another question I have is “What is it like to be the “other”? In this case I am thinking about the natural world of plants and animals: the mountain goats on the ledge, the log that was once a tree, the deer packed closely together, the pine cones in a pine forest, a bush…
I think when we imagine being something else it can lead to a sense of connection, increased understanding and appreciation for the natural world. The idea of a “wide open country” acknowledges both interior and exterior worlds.