The Forest and the Trees
Liz Menard, Floyd Elzinga & Duane Nickerson
June 10 - July 31, 2017
Friday, June 9
Duane Nickerson, Dead Maple
Much of the great landmass that we now know as Canada was as recently as a few hundred years ago covered with trees. Forests and the creatures that inhabited them provided the Indigenous peoples with everything they needed to sustain themselves – food, clothing, shelter - but even more, cultural identity and a way of life. To the first European settlers, however, the forests and trees were barriers to settlement or resources to be exploited, although, eventually, they were also appreciated as natural wonders to be revered. Our contemporary understanding of forests recognizes that they are complex ecosystems with an influence that reaches far beyond individual trees and isolated plots of land. We realize something that the original inhabitants always knew, that we do not exist in isolation from our natural surroundings, but are part of the ecosystems that we inhabit, and we neglect or destroy them at our own peril as well as that of a plethora of interrelated living things.
The Forest and the Trees, recognizes this long history of complex relationships and celebrates the resilience, longevity and awe-inspiring individuality of trees. The exhibition includes steel sculpture by Floyd Elzinga, paper-based installation by Liz Menard and paintings by Duane Nickerson. Each artist explores a different relationship with trees that together help us to better understand our country and ourselves in a timely addition to our sesquicentennial programming.
Floyd Elzinga received his BFA from NSCAD in Halifax. He has chosen to work with steel because of its malleability and visual range. He uses traditional metal working techniques to create texture and depth the same way that a painter would use a paintbrush. He lives and works in Beamsville.
Liz Menard is a Toronto-based printmaker, visual artist, and educator. She is particularly interested in how our perception of the landscape helps us define who we think we are. She is increasingly concerned about environmental biodiversity and the native plant species and wildlife that need to be cared for, protected, and nurtured.
Duane Nickerson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree and a Governor General's Gold Medal award from the University of Calgary. He has embraced oil painting in the tradition of the old masters; his work has been said to ‘transcend the ordinary and embrace the surreal and strange’. He lives and works near Hamilton.