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“Cure For Sinus”
Acrylic on panel, paper, linen thread, 48”x 36”

The sage in the medicine box started me thinking about the women on my father’s side, especially my grandmother, who used sage to make a rinse for the hair. I found the Sinus Cure in a book of handwritten recipes amongst Aunt Muriel’s things from the old Luck farm at Crown Hill, Ontario. Some of the recipes like this one are clearly very old, perhaps copied from her mother’s or grandmother’s cookbooks, although I think this actual page was written by her in the 1920s.

Bloodroot, native to Northeast North America, is used traditionally in many ways, including a beautiful dye and several kinds of remedies. Bloodroot was at our old house, and I remember the colour of the sap on my hands if I pulled it up. This cure may have been shared amongst the settlers, but its original source must be from Indigenous knowledge. My work refers to the devaluing and loss of that knowledge and skill. The scratched-in cursive writing and lines could indicate a schoolbook or a chalkboard. Dark splatters in the sky make me think of ink. The paper fringe was inspired by the fringes on the shawls of Fancy Shawl Dancers.

I wanted to have something in my work that would move, and since the Fancy Shawl Dance suggests transformation the fringe seems an apt metaphor for the movement needed away from the intransigent positions taken by many. Finally, the night sky and narrow strip of green at the bottom of the panel refer to a dream my sister had at age ten, a powerful dream that stayed with her through her life. Standing at the edge of the world looking into the night sky, she felt exhilarated. She later interpreted this as looking forward to an exciting future, a hope all children are surely entitled to. Sadly I read another headline of suicides in a Native community.

I earned a B.F.A. degree in Visual Arts from York University and am a painter and sculptor with a studio in Cookstown, Ontario. My paintings, sculpture and self-published picture books place the people and objects of ordinary life in a buoyant new world of imagination. My most recent solo exhibition was The Big Picture (2015), a series of intimate still-life paintings at the David Kaye Gallery, Toronto. I am currently working towards The Dog Show and Other Conversations, an exhibition with Gail Esau at Double Door Gallery, Anten Mills, Sept 17- Oct 2, 2016.

For eight years I was principal set designer for South Simcoe Theatre, and am producing Four Play, an annual event that showcases new writing for the stage. For Cookstown’s annual Wing Ding in June I organize with artist Maggie Grace the Cookstown Creative Chair Challenge and Cookstown Mystery Mural. In 2014 I implemented with artists Gail Esau and Maggie Grace a large community mural for the Georgian Bay Steam Show. Since the early 1980s I have shown my work at numerous public and commercial galleries, including Leo Kamen, Prime Gallery, MacLaren Art Centre, Lafreniere & Pai and David Kaye Gallery. My work art is in the collections of CIBC, Four Seasons Hotels, Labatt’s, Trimark, DFAIT, Canada Council Art Bank and many others. I teach art to all ages at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie.