Coming to my Senses / Following the Shore – Claudia Mandler McKnight
Saturday, March 25th 2023 – Saturday, May 6th 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday,March 25th 2023, 2 PM – 4 PM
Artist talk: Saturday, Apri 1st – 2 PM – 3:30 PM
Claudia Mandler McKnight brings us a stunning mixed media installation of paintings, photographs, poetry, audio and video recordings, and material gatherings from nature to explore the connections between ourselves, herself, and the environment around us of Georgian Bay.
The exhibition is a culmination of Claudia Mandler McKnight’s MFA thesis at OCAD University in Toronto in which she explores a series of questions surrounding the connections of the natural world, the artist, and the act of presenting the natural world through art practice.
Join us for the opening on Saturday, March 25th, 2023 at 2 PM – 4 PM to be inspired by her incredible work, her theories and research, and also to be connected to our very own Georgian Bay.
All are welcome and refreshments will be provided.
My paintings and photographs are visceral responses to first-hand experiences of nature, and to the physical energies of the forces which shape a site. Research methods include sustained contemplation, expressive drawing, meditative walks, long boat rides and keen observation of what I can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. I am interested in what a specific place feels like emotionally, rather than rendering its outward appearance in topographic detail. Moreover, my intent is to communicate my sense of this site to the viewer.
The concept of biophilia, which posits that life has a mysterious inner dynamic, a life force of its own, is fundamental to my practice. Contrary to the narcissistic notion that human beings, by virtue of their intellect, are in charge of the world, biophilia views the human to be a living creature among countless life-forms. This awareness of interconnection in the network of life, and of the vitality of matter, guides my choice of subject matter and art processes.
Through gestural mark-making with thick oil gesso, I generate irregular surface textures on wood panel. This underpainting lays down the basic composition. Subsequent layers of cold wax and oil pigment, thinly applied in transparent glazes, overlap and fuse to create abstract, ephemeral landscapes which simultaneously dissolve and reorder chaotic elements into a surreal, blurred and compressed space.
My photographic images simultaneously distill and augment the painted panels. The lens-based work has been a bridge between observations made on site, and the translation of colour and contour into visceral mark-making in the studio. I find beauty and meaning in conveying the immaterial through floating essences and elusive luminescence.
Installation elements of on-site sound recordings, and natural materials sourced from Bone Island, Georgian Bay, seek to evoke textured memories, inflection points, and conversations between the shoreline and the art materials.
-Claudia Mandler McKnight, March 2023