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Benalto artist David More has created a body of work that explores gardens as imaginary havens, as the seats of memory, and as places of refuge from personal turmoil.
More states, “The Garden Ceremony is a metaphoric reference to humankind’s desire (some may say need) to be in ritualistic control of some miniscule corner of the world.”
The works have been inspired by visits to gardens in the United States, England, Scotland, Canada, France and India. The project began with large format drawings which then evolved into paintings. The final series of paintings, which More calls War’s Garden, blends memory and actual gardens with the first person stories of men and women who were personally involved with Second World War aircraft.
In order to recreate the sense of childhood wonder that More remembers he has created large-scale works that seem to envelop the viewer. In many cases, he has shaped the canvas to mimic the shape of wings of WWII aircraft. The result is monumental and moving, as the viewer is drawn into the sense of garden as a magical place, and into a deep subconsciously visual magic of distant childhood memories.
This exhibition will be the first time that More will exhibit works drawn from the entire series of Garden paintings.
“The Garden Ceremony is a metaphoric reference to humankind’s desire (some may say need) to be in ritualistic control of some miniscule corner of the world.”
Guest Curator, Mary-Beth Laviolette explains that, “The Garden Ceremony is also a body of work. A very substantial body of work by David More which at this point, thirty-five years later, contains over 200 images in acrylic painting, drawing, mixed media on paper and watercolour. Nearly two dozen of these works have been selected for this exhibition which, akin to a garden pathway, brings us to certain key points in the artist’s journey.”
David More has close to 40 years experience in the visual arts. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, More’s family moved to Canada in 1948 and eventually settled in Red Deer. Growing up in a community interconnected with forests and parks had a profound effect on shaping his artistic vision.
Laviolette has worked with More to select the works for the show. Laviolette’s interpretive essay places the show in context of art history and the tradition of landscape painting in Canada.