For My Grandmother

Pinky, Coloured pencil on paper, 11 x 14 in, 2013
Pinky, Coloured pencil on paper, 11 x 14 in, 2013

I’ve been waiting to show these drawings for about a year now. I first began this series of piggy drawings in late 2013 and continued into last year. I was originally going to exhibit them last year at Pendulum Gallery, but due to construction, the exhibition dates kept getting pushed back. I’m very happy to say that the show Now & Then will be opening next week.

These little piggy drawings are very special to me, as they’ve helped me deal with my grandmother’s dementia. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in late 2011, and it has been very difficult watching her illness progress. I wanted to do something that both honored my grandmother and also touched on the situation.

These Little Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014
These Little Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014

Growing up, I was always very close to my grandparents, and I was especially close to my grandmother. She always had an eclectic mix of knick knacks that she’d pick up from garage sales, flea markets and her little adventures she would take around the city. She was and still is a fiercely independent woman. But it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s that I looked at all the figurines collected on the shelves of her wall and only then did I realize she had a huge collection of pig figurines. And she told me that over the years, she was always searching carefully to add to her collection. She displayed them neatly, grouped together on shelves and in display cases.

Piggyback, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014
Piggyback, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014

With the onset of her dementia, my grandmother felt a need to collect things and had begun to hoard. She had become obsessive. And it was at this time that I began working with my grandmother’s carefully curated collection of ceramic pigs and piggy banks. Her collection of pigs was assembled when collecting was still for pleasure. Through this drawing project, I now appreciate my grandmother’s selectiveness and curation of these trinkets. Something I didn’t realize or pay attention to when I was younger and wrote off as my kooky grandmother doing what grandmothers do. But she had her own purpose.

Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 18.25 x 24.25 in, 2014
Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 18.25 x 24.25 in, 2014

This work follows my on-going examination of memory and personal histories. Aside from their decorative purposes, the ceramic pigs, which included piggy banks and other piggy containers, also serve a practical means of collecting and storing things. Stacking the pigs up on each other, they precariously teeter and are on the edge of falling and breaking, rendered useless.

We collect memories throughout our lives, only to slowly lose them in the end.

***

I’ll be exhibiting these piggy drawings along with some paintings from my recent series Of Myth and Men, as well as never shown before drawings from my Rejected Memories series. The exhibition, Now & Then, will open next week at Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver. More details can be found here.

Now & Then revisits some of the highlights of Pendulum Gallery exhibitions from the past decade, marking a point at which then becomes the now and acknowledging the intersection between the gallery and a select number of artists. The show is structured as a series of five small overviews, and through the presentation of both newer and older works, it attempts to give a sense of each artists’ practice, allowing the viewer to appreciate developing themes and methodologies.

I will be exhibiting alongside Ross Kelly, Ewan McNeil, David Marshall and Bettina Matzkuhn.

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