IThe collection - Coming in 2023

Paintings of architecture have long been a part of my practice, a means of learning my landscape and becoming oriented in new cities. When I moved to the Italian countryside—a context very different from the Canadian suburbs that I grew up in or the urban setting of New York, where I lived during my twenties—I didn’t immediately understand the architectural language of the towns and villages. What buildings or monuments were at the center of Italian life? It took me some time to recognize the daily and weekly cycles of my new home and to understand how they were dictated by the church. 

 

This series of paintings depicts different perspectives on the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, which occupies its own island in Venice, just over an hour away from my workshop in Nove. Constructed from brilliantly white marble, the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore’s gleaming facade can be seen from the city’s most prominent promenade, the Piazza San Marco. While made of rich material, the building itself is not overly ornate, gracefully integrating outdoor spaces and greenery into the plan. The basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore was designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, whose style drew heavily upon Greek and Roman models. In this respect, San Giorgio Maggiore is a fascinating exemplar of cross-cultural fusion, uniting the Classical order with the traditional Chrisitan church—complete with aisle and nave—by way of a doubled facade of seemingly superimposed pediments supported by pilasters and engaged columns. 

 

Renaissance thinkers, artists, and architects were deeply influenced by the Classical preference for intellectualized over sensuous beauty, preferring symmetry and proportionality to natural and “imperfect” models. Leonardo Da Vinci was an important proponent of the instrumentalization of commensurability in the arts—the most iconic example being his Vitruvian Man—and contributed illustrations to Luca Pacioli’s 1498 text Divina Proporitione, which proposed applications of mathematical geometry and proportionality to the arts and architecture. Palladio was another important advocate of the use of mathematics in the arts and outlined formulae for deriving the appropriate proportions of walls, columns, windows, and other elements of design in his Four Books of Architecture.

 

This series of works focuses on Palladio’s architectural attempt at harmony through symmetry in the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore. Capturing the church in surreal, large-scale paintings, a viewer will feel that they can almost enter the vista and experience the fantasy that these world-views create. Reflecting on the origin of this architectural style in Italy with a Venetian architect, I will render these works in house paints sourced from a store in Verona, which pigments its acrylics with minerals harvested from local soil. 

Whole Holy also incorporates a sound installation which reflects upon the linkages between sound and spirituality. When I step into a church or temple, I feel as though I am in the company of the thousands of pilgrims that came before me. The feeling has something to do with the immensity and sheer scope of the architect’s vision—honoring the might of some higher power without the foolhardy hubris of actually climbing to the heavens. Moving through those man-made caverns and hearing my footsteps and voice distorted by echo and reverberation, sound becomes a persistent reminder of my relative smallness and humility. Filtering the sounds of the gallery in real time through a set of audio filters that replicate the sound quality in a cathedral, convey this sense of scale, transforming the small gallery installation into an expansive and almost meditative space.