February 12, 2012

art and rage

ts1 5

18" x 36" oil on canvas

I don't really know what I'm doing other than 'following my brush', but thought I'd post it anyway. If it looks like a moonscape, it sort of is. It's a small section of northern Alberta's tar sands.

For months now I have been waging a quiet war in my head with the Tories and economists in general, and Stephen Harper, Canada's glorious leader, in particular. Harper's recent visit to China, a diplomatic attempt to woo them into supporting the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, badly disguised as a human rights exercise, finally pushed me into the studio.

So what is it exactly? A painting of gloriously beautiful northern Alberta executed in the Great Canadian Landscape Tradition? Not exactly. I would love the opportunity to travel to the north with my camera and see it all for myself, and attempt to interpret it visually. But unless there's a Canada Council Grant in my future (and there isn't -- maybe I should apply?) I'll have to have a bake sale or something. Meanwhile, I have been obsessively googling images and have a massive art crush on Edward Burtynsky now. I also discovered the photos and renewable energy project of David Dodge, and he kindly allowed me to use one of his photos so I could vent my spleen in oil paint. :)

And now I need a title. But every time I come across a piece of bombastic rhetoric supporting tar sands development it sounds dead serious when used as the title of a painting. How can I be ironic ... and sound like it? Is it even possible? If you've read this far without falling asleep in your soup maybe you have some ideas?

Finally, watch this. When Lenz starts choking back the tears so will you.

12 comments:

nadine said...

I can't quite bring myself to watch the video yet, but man I love your painting. It has a really interesting organic industrial thing going. Reminds me of your photos of urban decay. Great.

dinahmow said...

I did not cry. I did slam a cupboard door and I did say a rude word.And I wrote a letter.

If even one of those tailings ponds sprang a leak you'd have a much bigger shit-fest than Deep Water Horizon!

andrea said...

Thanks, Nadine. I enjoyed doing something so different.

Dinah: You're scaring me now ... but I definitely appreciate the feedback.

Peter said...

There was a big outdoor exhibition in Cardiff about the tar sands and what a disaster they are. I was gobsmacked ... i had no idea. Rage is good.

SamArtDog said...

Your painting is absolutely horribeautiful. Aerial photos of the tar sands that I've seen give me nightmares. Garth Lenz's Tedx talk breaks my heart.

Watching the destruction of the planet is the curse of my otherwise blessed lifetime.

andrea said...

My favourite arguments are the economic ones. How important will the nickels and dimes of economies be in a post-apocalyptic world I wonder?

Melody said...

His talk broke my heart as well....sigh.
Your painting is mesmorizing. I must say I Iike the direction your taking with the oils.

valerie walsh said...

how is "pieces of the puzzle?"
it looks like a puzzle to me :)

Holly Friesen said...

Gorgeous painting, great post. Enjoy following your work, Andrea. Love the way you explore and express.

Barbara said...

Your painting is beautiful - subject matter horrifying. Thanks for the post - I sent the link to Lenz's video to all my friends.

Angela Recada said...

Your new painting is gorgeous ad raw. I love it.

Andrea, thank you for speaking up about Enbridge and the tar sands. As I was born in Alberta, this entire topic has me fuming, to say the least. Here in the States, most people don't care to know about the sands, or the true impact of the XL pipeline which will transport this dirty oil all the way to the already devastated Gulf of Mexico.

I'll watch the video now, and I'm sure I'll cry. . .
xo

Pierre RaƱon said...

Just stumbled upon this entry. thanks for providing a link to burtynsky. your colors aren't really that of rage, but the brushstrokes are, achieving a different equilibrium --- nice. :)