Hotspur Studio
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painting is an affirmation of the existent, of the physical world into which mankind has been thrown.
John Berger

The blue and the yellow and the red all began to mix together. It was a terrible mess. But when the Wizard saw what was happening, he exclaimed, That is the answer! And he danced joyfully around the cellar.
Arnold Lobel, The Great Blueness and other predicaments

Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood, water and rock.
Simon Schama

I am not so interested in how they move but what moves them. Pina Bausch

Life is a slow transformation from the material to the ethereal. On this journey I believe we struggle to have understanding, wisdom and purpose.  Painting is an act of connection to, and a manifestation of this struggle.

My work up to now has attempted to tell the story of how buildings and things we make as humans, get left behind when the cycle of an economy is done.  The objects I focus on are abandoned; like headstones they mark a death, a resting place where once a community stirred.  In my paintings I reanimate them in order to evoke a sentient landscape. They are to me the residues of our need to mark ourselves onto the land. The ineffable area between the land, its indifference to us, and our need to see our image somewhere on its surface is where I want my work to exist. 

I used photography in my work to distil time.  I liked to use the same photograph in different paintings; it addressed my need to overcome sentiment.  A photograph can be an unforgiving reminder of time, place and entropy.  I thrive on the clash between the cold documentation of a photograph and the emotive trajectory of painting.

I was a playwright for ten years in Toronto in the 1990s. I have struggled since then to find a way to meld the expression of writing with that of painting.  After reading about the artist Cy Twombly I made a discovery; his work was deeply influenced by statuary in Rome and the text usually written on the plinth beneath them. Text and visual representation can collide easily when executed separately and then brought together for didactic and ceremonial purposes.  

In the last several years I began a blog that is a sort of journey about being an artist in rural Ontario. Through this I came to rely less and less on the urge to put text into my paintings as social media and my blog made up for this; the blend of text & image in digital form seems to satisfy my longing for now. In this time I also stumbled upon the idea of using the photographs as stencils in order to put a focus in my work. Perhaps a crutch or maybe a tic or atavistic need; I must begin my work with a structure that symbolizes refuge, home and isolation. Most recently I have been working on paper, writing essays over top of the paintings, adding silk stitch lines to the buildings, and basically choosing to evolve my practice rather than change my direction. It seems to still be a story I am working on and have yet to figure out the ending.

Through art I have come to realize that creativity is a force that flows through the world, and those who harness it are people aware of their mortality.  Like ancient peoples that painted animals on the walls of caves to connect to their food and/or their deity, I too have a desire to connect to the world I have been thrown into.

Bio

Victoria Ward was born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.  She always wanted to be a painter because of her mother, who also painted and took her to art galleries at a young age.  After attending York University in Toronto, Ward spent the nineties working as a professional playwright and collaborating with the city’s most alternative artists: Theatre Gargantua, DNA Theatre, Autumn Leaf Performance, Kensington Carnival and Crow’s Theatre.  Ward still writes. Her weekly blog which is followed by over 1500 readers and can be found right here on her website. Please also follow Victoria at @hotspurstudio on Twitter& on instagram. She lives near Algonquin Park in a log cabin with her partner Gary Blundell. 

 

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 Hotspur Studio

 

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