1999 Storm Lantern on Fireplace with Reflections
After the devastation of the Ice Storm of 1998, our lake-side cottage in the Gatineau Hills seemed constantly starved for brightness and warmth. I sought out light mirrored in and on every surface. I found frames within frames, windows within windows. I would spend hours in the Baroque room of the National Gallery of Canada staring at the Jacob Jordaens' painting, one of my favourites. I wandered through the rooms of Escher's prints. In tiny sections of canvasses and prints artists left coded imagery. There was no more white noise. I could see miniaturized worlds everywhere. Worlds within worlds.
By this time I knew I would have enough for an exhibition. One painting alone seemed to spawn countless others as I zoomed in to reflections. This lantern was in PC invasion as was the glass of the fireplace itself. I am reflected in the centre of the lantern's glass mantel standing by my easel painting by the light of the window which extended along the entire wall. Tall spruce grew so close to the A-frame their branches seemed to protrude into the living room.
The tiny plastic framed photo on the mantle was a reminder of 126 King Street, Charlottetown. My mother's apartment is now Silsby Kindergarten. Her rose lantern and collection of family photos have been dispersed. But even reduced to a few brush strokes on a small canvas each of these remains as clear to me as the original photo. I can see hair blowing in the wind beside the Rideau River and details of the lace shawl from Brazil.
I was reading about reflexivity as a useful concept in the social sciences. It became the title for my exhibition. I decided to aim for my birthday as the opening night.