CROSSROADS
MAY 23 TO JUNE 16, 2018
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, MAY 26, 10 AM - 5 PM
POETRY READING: SATURDAY, JUNE 02, 2 - 4 PM
MUSIC & SPEAKERS: SATURDAY, JUNE 09, 2 - 4 PM
THE RED HEAD GALLERY, 401 RICHMOND STREET WEST, SUITE 115, TORONTO

Upon entering the gallery, a total of 64 driftwood tree trunks and branches of varying sizes will float before you in 4 different formations. First, you will be drawn into a channel of floating driftwoods, twelve on either side. Each bears some form of natural element, a reminder of the goodness our earth offers when we live with respect for it and our neighbours.  Cultures around the world have practiced earthly celebrations for millennia, but in cities we are surrounded by buildings, less connected to nature which can get lost in the metropolises. 

My journey to this sculptural installation comes from my history of long walks in nature. The distinctive forms I see sharpen my awareness about whatever I’m working on at the time. Mostly my collections of flotsam wash onto the beaches I have been living by. I am always interested in what oceans or lakes deposit on the shore each day. Driftwood especially, is hauntingly beautiful, often suggesting animal and human forms. It’s difficult to miss the metaphor in today’s world where millions of people are cast out and thrown adrift by wars and growing scarcity due to climate change. Since Systems Failure, my last Red Head Gallery exhibition in September 2016, many important political changes have taken place, further destabilizing the people from the political forces that be.

…Eventually you will come to twelve, ten-foot high driftwood sentinels, symbolic of the world at large. They are facing each other in acknowledgment of our human strengths and weaknesses. Facing them from the centre of the circle stand twelve walking cane sized driftwood sticks representing different forms of modern slavery, also asking for acknowledgment and help.

Daily we are reminded by news reports about the growing disparity between haves and have-nots, inadequate living wages, human trafficking, suffering and shortened life-spans. Those that have, have lifestyles that are dependent on the suffering of others. What does this say about us? Perhaps the discomfort we feel when confronted by this is necessary. It’s only through awareness and a sense of shame or outrage that a demand for change, for improvement, will be kept alive. We’re not giving up our iPhones, but with growing awareness, we can make a difference.

Since Toronto has become such a culturally diverse city this is a great opportunity to hear from the people about what matters to you. I invite every visitor to the gallery to share your views and symbols on the bark-inspired papers provided and place them on the tree trunk which best represents them. So please, spread the word; bring your friends and colleagues. Our crucial (lifestyles) decisions bring us to another Crossroads.

Image: Elements, 2017 - 2018, driftwood, natural elements - feathers, fur, bone, metals, plant materials etc., wood stain

Image: Elements (Detail), 2017 - 2018, driftwood, natural elements - feathers, fur, bone, metals, plant materials etc., wood stain