In May ’96 I met a woman who had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion while working in Africa. She had returned to Canada for medical treatment.
I visited her that spring and summer as often as I could. On my way to the studio, I would stop at the hospital and just hang out for awhile –
little moments of connection –
As the virus devastated her body, breathing took on a whole new perspective /dimension – it was during this time that I painted ‘the breath’.
The intention behind every mark, every swipe of colour was to capture the feeling of breathing while I was painting, a documentation of sorts.
It has been rolled up on a shelf in the studio for the last 20+ years.
In light of the Covid pandemic and the global focus on breathing – the breath front and centre in the minds of most, I decided to take it off the shelf and revisit it.
It had once again become relevant, maybe even more so.
Technology that didn’t exist back then gave me the opportunity to play with the orientation of the painting on the computer, which allowed me to see this piece in a completely new light. After hanging it on the wall with this new vantage point, the piece became more expansive, revealing deeper patterns of breathing somehow – I spent the spring and summer of 2020 reworking this piece from a different point of view, a new perspective, from a place of deeper appreciation for life and human frailties.
I can’t explain why but this painting calms me, slows me down – I feel held somehow and transported at the same time without knowing how or why.