Thursday, January 1, 2004

Wax and Wane

March 30 - April 11, 2004
Group Show: Craig Porter & Tania Jaggi Kerr
LE Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Wax and Wane was the first major show of mine since 1996, after a group show in the AGO titled Art Of Darkness. Between this period I had been creating smaller works for friends, collecting stuff and archiving it in my Mom's basement. I was mostly doing a lot of writing/drawing in sketch books, but I had become a victim of needing to make money and earn a livelihood from the left side of my brain. I was lured into Financial Services and became a Junior Financial Planner for almost 4 years starting in 1996. I also moved back permanently to Toronto 2001.

Wax and Wane primarily revisited earlier explored themes of personal meaning and its creation and subsequent loss. The work for this show, as well as the prior work in the mid 90s through to the present (2009), is mediated through some of conventions of storytelling, using mythology (primarily Greek/Roman) and the suggestion of narrative as a building blocks and reference. I chose the title for the show, Wax and Wane, to connote loss (for both Tania and I), and liked how it suggested cyclic appearance and disappearance (of the moon) and on a real personal level addressed creation and destruction, of things and meaning in the context of this show. I wanted to address these themes and how it unraveled and wove (I like the reference to the three Fates weaving the lives of Man) as narrative in relation to the art object, with their own interaction and the viewer, all the while being cognizant of the context of being "Art Work" in a gallery.

The stories and myths referenced in tandem with the art works, evoked loss and tragedy framed by titles, such as,"Orpheus Turns...", and referencing the flood story, a disastrous event which shows up in most major mythologies in variations (Greek, Norse, many Aboriginal myths and stories ,and, most relevant to this show, the Christian Biblical story of Noah and The Flood).

The material in the work seems almost ancient, or ready to fall apart and rot. I intended the work to have a very earthen look and pallet, as if the works had just recently been unearthed or entombed for thousands of years. I made objects, like an alien elongated human jaw with bees wax cast rows of teeth melted on and dripping, and decrepit wooden scaffold that looked like it had been through a flood with rusted wire and rotted rope holding it barely together, to create the illusion of relics or antiquities.

Using bee's wax and cinnamon helped to invoke pleasant memory, as the scent teased my memory and bubbled out into this temporal and manifest stream of consciousness installation. I found that using Wax/honey (material/food that has been found in Egyptian tombs, surviving thousands of years only to still be edible and intact) was that fecund connection to a past: ancient; yet, fragile and capable of sustenance.

My Grandfather (Inchley) had a farm where he also kept bees, and I've always been fascinated with bees, their culture, history and mythology. Bees were revered in ancient cultures as having a connection to the mortal world and underworld simultaneously, and even in early Western European cultures bees where barometers of a family and their relative health and happiness. Bees could only be raised in a happy harmonious family and bees had to be talked to and told news on a regular basis, especially when families were in trouble or when family members died, lest the bees themselves suffer. This became a ritual: "telling of the bees", whose practice was first established in Hellenistic Greece. This was my belated "telling of the bees" ritual, in hopes that the hive could once again be revived from the seemingly dead.

This show had been entombed inside of me inside of me for over seven years, and its dust and mildew made me itch. This was the second (the first being Frequency in 1996) and more developed show that attempted to reconcile many losses that occurred to me over the period of ten years : of family, friends, collected things/treasures, now forever lost to death, time, earth and real flood waters. The spectres of these all haunted me, and in an attempt to appease and exorcise their spirits, I created these works. The shows that would follow this exhibition expanded further on loss, but also on the curiosity of how loss evolves and is manifested itself into a shape, in terms: memento, or memento mori. I am interested in playing with how a collection serves and is served by the collector, as much as it is the audience that happens upon our respective "cabinets of curiosity".

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