This work is part of a series of portraits depicting my mother in exaggerated emotive stages, displaying various states of recognition in each. I wanted to create this work as a way to further analyze a relationship that I often mistakenly view as familiar, to perhaps recognize the changing structure of a relationship when the individuals within it change as well. The portrait explores the relationship between mother and son, but also of artist and subject.
The most impactful works that have inspired me personally are portraits that detail the life of someone accurately.
The addition of a buffalo pelt, which is both real and originated from within Canada, is a very purposeful inclusion and exists as a symbolic reference to the garment’s historical importance as well as referencing other, more personal histories. The production of fur and its many valid criticisms in contemporary society can often overshadow the integral role it has played in the past, as understating its historical importance in the formation of a country and the relations of its inhabitants. By re-purposing the aesthetic and role of the fur in a contemporary context, I have hopefully presented an opportunity for its legacy to be rediscovered in a manner that is sharply contemporary.
As a Canadian artist, I do believe that works of art should not only exist to archive the lives of its inhabitants, but should also act as a visual catalogue of its countries history, and in this case, the stories that are historically important to its successes and failures. There is nothing more representative of a nation than a portrait of its inhabitants. This is, in its simplest terms, a work depicting just that.