Peregrinatio 

I grew up in a house that had a whole bookcase dedicated to rocks, shells, and fossils. My parents had, over the years, collected many treasures from the natural world.  There was the piece of amethyst that my great-grandfather had found on his property.  There was the large quartz prism, a chambered nautilus shell, a geode, and many other fascinating objects that had come from the earth.  I have fond memories of walking with my Dad along the beach, looking down at the stones.  He showed me how to identify which rocks might be geodes, which ones were Petoskey stones, and which ones contained fossils.

My interest in these items continued into my adulthood.  I have spent many hours walking on the quarry stone along the Bright’s Grove shoreline, my eyes cast down on the millions of fossils preserved there.  The collection at “Stones ‘n Bones”, in Sarnia, became a favourite of mine and I knew that I had to do a series of artwork that was inspired by fossils, petrified wood, and other natural formations.  The objects in the collection at “Stones ‘n Bones” and the fossils along the shoreline became the inspiration for Peregrinatio.

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It is part of the human condition to contemplate the nature of life. We look around us and see a physical world. The earth herself holds a narrative, a story that reaches from a distant past to an unknown future. We are part of that story. Recognizing that our physical existence is temporary, we can project that our corporeal selves and the material aspects of our society will ultimately become part of the fossil record of the future. From its beginnings, humanity has desired to reach beyond our earth-bound existence to seek assurances of immortality and to attempt to leave a legacy of our own transcendence as proof of our being and as a bridge to the future.

The artwork for this exhibition will reference earth’s fossil record: organic fossils, geodes, geological formations, and petrified wood. Through my works, these objects are used symbolically to become metaphors for memory, transformation, legacy, and transcendence. My paintings lead the viewer to enter an uncomfortable contemplation of a cycle that includes life, death, and fossilization. Yet, fossilization is a transformation. The process of fossilization itself is a tangible link between the past and the future. And so it stands as a powerful symbol for humanity and for transformation that reaches beyond our current experience.

Peregrinatio is an ancient word that in its broadest sense means, "pilgrimage". However, the term is also used metaphorically to describe an inner, spiritual journey or quest. By acknowledging that we have a deep connection with our natural world, and with one another, we catch glimpses of the intangible. And so we begin our quest to see what lies beyond our physical existence, our own memories and our experiences. In this exhibition, images of the journey or quest coexist with symbols of the earth’s fossil record to compel the viewer to consider his or her own peregrinatio.