“Signs” is a body of work that I have been developing during the last four years, the majority of which is completed in encaustics. For those unfamiliar, encaustic is simply paint made from natural beeswax, tree resin and dry colored pigments. Many containers of hot translucent colors are laid out on a heated surface and further mixing with brushes happens directly on this hot palette. Later, the surface is fused with a torch or heat gun. There is often much scraping and ironing involved as well.
The concept to use the format of a diagonal warning sign grew from a single kernel of an idea after hearing news reports of the devastating effects of White Nose Syndrome on Little Brown Bat colonies in New Brunswick. It occurred to me that a traditional checkered warning sign might be an appropriate memorial for these colonies. One painting led to another and another while the material of encaustic continued to form and inform the work in unexpected ways.
With deep family roots in rural Charlotte County, I have been raised with a respect and consciousness of animals and insects and the awareness that we are not separate from them. Sometimes, in my opinion, humans create hierarchies of animals, preferring the prettier or more useful ones. I am fascinated and often shocked that people are repelled by bats, bees and sometimes birds. There seems to be a complete disinterest in the low-to-the-ground porcupine and a love-hate relationship with the deer. I am playing in a cheeky way with the idea of animal crossing signs that are so common in our very rural province.
The bells are a new appearance in my work. I am still exploring that device, but in this context I see them as an extension of the idea of warning and getting the attention of people. “Here is a sign. Remember that you need us.”