Wood re-emerges to the Canadian art scene, as only a senior artist could do, mixing elements of risk and insightful tenderness equally in his new work. This series is a therapeutic reply to the isolation both Wood and his wife experienced during her lengthy struggle with multiple sclerosis. The artist’s answer to their physical, emotional and spiritual deprivation is a beautiful reconstruction of some of their happiest adventures spent exploring the wilds of B.C. For forty years, Wood has constructed complex abstractions of our natural environment. ‘Dreams and Memories’ builds on this great legacy, offering new degrees of sophistication and surprising elements. In this series, Wood introduces a figure, which he sees as Flora.
Though the artist identifies the figure as his wife, it has a compelling, universal quality. It is through its simplicity and stylization that the figure comes to represent all of us, and the ubiquitous experiences of illness, loss and loneliness. Wood further expands the symbolism of these works by literally divorcing the figure from the large textural fields of colour and form that represent the coastal shores, waterfalls, rivers, mountains and forests. This isolated figure, while revealing Flora’s dissolution from a vigorous life, may also be regarded as our own distancing from the natural environment.
Alan Wood is one of Canada’s leading artists. His works are found in several distinctive public collections including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Museum of Wales and the Tate in London, England. Wood, who was born in 1935 in the town of Widnes, in Lancashire, England, moved to Canada in 1971, settling in British Columbia in 1974. During the late fifties, Wood was a member of the influential St. Ives Artists Colony in Cornwall, which in turn led to a successful six-year teaching career at the prestigious Cardiff College of Art in Wales.
His interest in the dynamics of light and colour of the ocean, beach, forest and sky has dominated his landscape work throughout his career.
In 1983 Alan Wood gained international recognition for taking his painting directly into the landscape with his “Ranch” creation. This 320 acre painted construction built in the foothills of the Alberta Rockies was a monumental exploration of colour and form. Alan Wood is a prolific artist and since 1962, has participated in many group and solo exhibitions in Great Britain, Europe, Canada, the United States and Australia.
Long Beach I
acrylic and paper collage
37 x 7 ½ in