Both parents had eyes and ears which sought the interesting and unusual.
Their critical focus embraced everything. My sister and I were marched through galleries until our feet hurt, taken to performances that were ‘important to experience’ and told to be quiet when the merits of the offerings were discussed. The most artistic fun we had was baking cookies for our father’s exhibition openings.
John Bennett, a painter of note, had a primary passion, other than women, and that was painting. His studio was his heart centre in each of our homes. I spent hours peering at his work, his myriad of brushes, palettes of colour but...
I was told not to touch!
When I opted for Art History rather than Classics at university, I had to take a few studio courses. I did this with more trepidation than excitement. I became comfortable in sculpture and printmaking classes but I was never happy in drawing and painting. I feared my father would compare my feeble first efforts with his own prowess.
Teaching seemed a practical option for me upon graduation in 1965. And, yes, I taught studio classes keeping one step ahead of my students.
Over those first few years their enthusiasm and fearlessness in experimenting with all sorts of materials became contagious and I yearned to be making along with them. Their creative courage became my own.
I didn’t allow people to speak of ‘talent’ in my classes. That indicates that some have it and others don’t . My students learned that everyone has a ‘CQ’ Creativity Quotient.
My father loomed large as I sought a medium that differed from his own. I chose to draw and to paint using thread and overlays of fabric on canvas.
I worked in those early days with a Pfaff sewing machine . My first exhibition was ‘Fabricated Ladies’ at Gallery O on Markham Street in 1978.
They were collaborative works of my father’s lovers. I relished driving my needles through their fleshy thighs.
Midway through my ‘making’ and because of the practical difficulty of setting up my machine on a tiny island I began to experiment with glass , glues and resin along with natural materials gathered on the island. This fed my love of collecting and working with transparencies. My next studio iteration was the installation of an industrial fan for clear cast resin work along with the addition of mirrored surfaces and photographic transfer.
When I was teaching full time with a household of a husband and four boys, my making allowed for solo exhibitions every three or four years.
I exhibited between times in group shows.
Here’s a list:
Patterns - A Doll Story (Installation) - Walnut Contemporary Gallery - 2017
Garden of Secrets – Walnut Contemporary Gallery – 2015
Resonance – Olivia – Engine Gallery – 2010
- Stouffville Gallery – 2009
- Kerozene – Montreal – 2008
- Engine Gallery – 2007
Remnants of Resonance – Engine Gallery – 2007
Things That Soar, Swim and Wiggle – Burston Gallery – 2004
Amber Ice – Albert White Gallery – 2000
Stitched Collage – Baas Gallery – 1987
I have been represented by the Albert White Gallery, the Engine Gallery and Walnut Contemporary in Toronto and have works in private and public collections in Canada and the US. I am a member of the Ontario Society of Artists.