Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sought and Found

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of taking a little trip across the Ontario border to visit The Arbor Gallery in the town of Vankleek Hill. The occasion was the vernissage for "Seek to Find", the solo art exhibition of my long time friend and fellow artist Erica Taylor.


Erica and I met when I was about eleven and she was twelve, and she demonstrated to me her ability to whinny like a horse. Not only could Erica whinny, but she could whinny so convincingly that horses would answer her. In my horse crazy eleven-year-old's mind, that was a truly awe-inspiring talent. That gift of equine communication, along with our mutual love of art, cross-country skiing and all things horses, formed the foundation of a friendship which has, to date, endured for thirty years.

Erica's work could not be more different from my own, which no doubt is the reason I find it so delightful and interesting. She is an artist who works in a variety of media, from fairly traditional oil painting and printmaking all the way to wild and whimsical found object sculpture.
Ironwood Tree ©2009 Erica Taylor
I have often wished I had the courage to just let my imagination run wild the way that Erica does. She can look at a box of metal odds and ends, a pile of old barn wood, pieces of an old pipe organ and see the artistic possibilities.Out of that process of creative imagining, Erica makes works of art which are beautiful, sometimes funny and often quite provocative.
Attempt to Quantify ©2009 Erica Taylor
Whether it is seen in representations of the archetypal feminine, childbirth, or the exploration of the common girlhood fantasy of escaping on the back of a horse, the female experience is a thread that runs through all of Erica's work. Attempt to Quantify (seen above) grew from experiments Erica made striking a wooden plank with antique metal number stamps. She describes the work as the linear, scientific masculine attempting to define the vague and mysterious feminine. Indeed, to me, it looks a lot like sperm surrounding an ovum. It may have begun as unconscious experimentation, but Attempt to Quantify developed into a thought provoking piece of art.
Oil painting Primeval Race, found object sculpture Queen ©2009 Erica Taylor

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