Artist Statements + Press Release- "A Different Kettle of Fish: a visual exploration of sayings"

“A Different Kettle of Fish” - a visual exploration of ‘sayings’'
We use ‘sayings’ every day.  Sayings are convenient.  They can express a complicated idea in a nutshell.  Often they are light in nature and can take the sting out of communicating something that is sensitive or delicate. This descriptive and colourful language encapsulates greater meaning, pushing our minds to envision the message.  Idioms may give us visual clues, but more often than not, the meaning of these sayings are taught to us.  Without these teachings, we are prone to take these sayings literally, missing the special meaning they are meant to convey.  Understanding idioms is a piece of cake if you grow up with them, but can greatly confuse if not.  
Melanie Earle, Shauna Earle,and Carol Wood have invited guest artists’ Fran Bouwman and Sean Keating to create new work based on this theme. We are excited to share this stimulating show that will be sure to make you think, laugh and learn.

Press release:  
The Grey Highlands Artists Collective (GHAC), is putting on their sixth collaborative show at The Meaford Hall Arts and Cultural Centre starting June 27th and running until Sept, 9th 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 30th, 7-9 pm
Show runs to Sept. 9th, 2016


Shauna Earle
Many idiomatic expressions can be light and even funny.  My encaustic paintings explore a more serious side to sayings:

 “We Are All In The Same Boat”
We consider ourselves a developed country; most of us have shelter, food and water.  Many people in other parts of the world do not have these basic necessities of life, or are in the midst of losing them; plant life and animals too.  There are too many signs that humans are progressively destroying what we take for granted on this earth.  We are all in the same boat – once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“Window of Opportunity”
I took the photograph of the window in this painting at the slave castle at Elmina, Ghana, West Africa, built in 1482 by the Portuguese.  On a plaque, now outside the dungeon, it reads:“In Everlasting Memory of the anguish of our ancestors. May those who died rest in peace. May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We, the living, vow to uphold this.”

“Busy as a Bee”
Considers the value of multi-tasking behaviour.

“Watching the Grass Grow” 
Considers the value of contemplation and inaction.   

“Go With The Flow
So many people are moving around the earth; they always have.  Some people move to look for work, for a better life and for freedom.  This isn’t a new phenomenon. We just have to go with the flow, as we always have.

Carol Wood
I have often found that words and language appear in my art and have enjoyed this opportunity to think about idiomatic expressions with these new paintings. The expressions that I have explored are “put this place on the map” and “all over the map”.  Although maps themselves are going the way of the dodo with the advent of GPS, people are still linked to these pieces of paper that tie them to place. The maps that I have painted on are from my 90-year-old father’s collection of old maps from his days as a town planner, cartographer, and geography professor. They tie the geography of place to the history of people and my connection to them. The idea of “ putting this place on the map’' can be interpreted as an act of hubris but I like to think of the small ways that we all add our stories to the greater human story as acts of sharing, not of excessive pride. The expression “all over the map” sometimes has connotations of someone who lacks focus and is scattered but I chose to interpret it differently. With the two “all over the map” paintings I tell the stories of my family and girlhood buddies who are not only literally all over the map at this time, but have explored lives and experiences that took us from the tight close moment of these pictures to the open world which we have all navigated.


Melanie Earle
I have chosen to explore a literal interpretation of idioms. Of interest to me were the idioms relating to animals, and I often found that animal traits were assigned to human behavior and situations.  It was interesting to think about a human past that was more closely tied to the natural world and our observations of it, and hence its appearance in our language in the form of idioms.

Sean Keating
I am honoured to be invited to show my work with these powerful and talented artists.

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”
This piece reflects my remembrance of a magically beautiful yet challenging time in my life. It’s interesting in retrospect that I was on the cusp of making important decisions.

“Since Christ was a Carpenter”
Even the best carpenters make mistakes… sometimes over and over and over again.

“A Fish Out of Water”
What happens when there is more fishing gear than there are fish? It’s something we’ve never experienced before…. And it’s frightening.

“As the Crow Flies
I was a wildfowl sculptor in a previous life. The distance from then to now is best described as contiguous.

8 Million Stories in the Naked City
I once knew a man whose name was Noble Fancy. He had the biggest hands I have ever seen. I always liked listening to him tell his wild stories. Every time, something new and beautiful. He’s dead now. He was a legend. Just one man. Lost in the shuffle. So many stories… so little time.


Fran Bouwman
“Living on the Edge”
When we were young this saying was often used in relation to partying, risky behavior, drugs and alcohol.  But as we age, we “live on the edge” in a different kind of way.  I couldn’t help but notice how the women in my life were juggling careers, children and housework and who, in rare moments of honesty, would admit that they felt like they were on the edge - different kind of “living on the edge”.

A tribute piece to all the brave young feminist women who blazed a trail for us and to all the brave young feminist women and men who continue to do so.

“Cry Me a River”
This piece was inspired by my experiences in Eeyou Istchee (James Bay, Northern Quebec).  Eeyouch (Cree) have lost three significant, historical rivers to Hydro-Quebec.  Losing a river is like losing a lifeline to their history, their connection to the land and to their ancestors.  It is profoundly sad to see a river that’s flowed in one direction for thousands of years to be redirected by force somewhere else. 

“Cheating Death”
I think about death a lot.  I’ve only had one moment in my life where I thought I cheated death and I had mixed feelings about it.

“Breaking the Chains”
A woman I worked with on a newspaper assembly line inspired this sculpture. Her life story - from her dysfunctional childhood to her newfound independence as a woman – fascinated me. Although she endured a childhood of unpredictability, hardships, and endless struggles and appeared, on the outside, to be hard as stone, she possessed an uncanny optimism for life.  Her sheer determination and faith enabled her to build a home for herself and her three children. This determination also included the will to break the chains of her past and give her own children a life filled with love and protection.

“Born with a Silver Spoon”
A funny, literal interpretation.

“Turn a Blind Eye”
A literal, but interactive, interpretation.