Heather Cline - URBAN FOREST
Reception: Saturday, June 18, 2:00pm
June 18 – July 14
Heather Cline’s latest series, Urban Forest, highlights the interplay of natural and built forms in the city, expressing our desire to try to recreate and recapture nature within our urban spaces. Her paintings contrast regularly spaced suburban architecture with the majestic, natural forms and dynamically shifting shadows cast by old-growth trees. Cline has exhibited in galleries across Canada and is currently the instructor of an online studio course at the University of Regina. In 2014 she received the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts & Learning Award for her management of an innovative, province-wide distance education program. She works primarily in painting and new media, exploring narratives around place and personal history.
Urban Forest explores the suburban environment through observation as well as recollection, translated through technology and material processes. The finished paintings are reminiscent of stained glass, with tremendous depth and luminosity, as Cline explains:
"Urban Forest is a body of work about location, memory and the desire to insert the forest into urban spaces. In the older neighbourhoods of
Western Canadian cities the trees dramatically impact the light and shadow, visually [interrupting] the planned geography of the traditional street grid. Like the shelterbelts of the home quarter on prairie farms the trees shield and protect our homes, and transplanted species connect us to distant geographies. The trees defy containment, stretching out in organic irregular shapes; shifting shadow patterns change as each season brings new growth, density and then loss."
"[Urban Forest is also] part of a larger body of work that I have been exploring for the past decade. I am interested in creating paintings that give viewers a sense of a memory of place, not just a geographic location. [I take] a cinematic approach to documenting locations, using video and multiple camera angles and shots that are eventually stitched together into a digital drawing. Although at first glance the images
suggest a specific reality, soon small visual details take on greater visual presence and proper perspective is frequently defied. This drawing is combined with multiple layers of opaque and transparent acrylic paint, light and colour, [each] painting's appearance subtly shifting in different light and from different viewpoints."
"In mid 1970's my parents returned home from a trip to Ontario with a hand full of acorns, picked up from one of our original family homesteads. They nursed several frail saplings through several bitter Saskatchewan winters hoping that just one tree would survive and thrive. Eventually one tall rugged tree dominated our back yard. When I started creating the work for Urban Forest my attention was captured by the SOS Elms Saskatoon tree tour project. In their 'Saskatoon Tree Tour' booklet they highlight some of the rare and unusual species of trees growing in Saskatoon. I spent a day with my family visiting the various locations featured in the booklet. This tour through older neighbourhoods on Saskatoon's east side was the starting point for many of the images in the Urban Forest series. The University of Saskatchewan Campus is also a treasure trove of diverse and rare tree varieties."