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This is a depiction of a presently uncompleted series called Nouvelle Vous. It is intended as the central part of a set of gifts for friends and relatives to commemorate my mother's remembrance ceremony in Calgary this May when her cremated body will be placed in my father's grave.

My explanation of this series and performance is the most difficult undertaking in this entire blog. There are two aspects of our culture merging, the culture of this land and the culture of Europe.

This is a Fayum funerary portrait painted during the 1st or 2nd century B.C. Roman occupation of Egypt.

There are attempts at portraiture before that time but the Fayum portraits represent a collection of nearly 1,000 wooden panels, all distinctively portraits, in the collections of the Louvre, the British and Petrie museums in London, the Metropolitan and Brooklyn museums in New York and the Getty museum in California...

My portraits are not funerary (interned with a body in the Egyptian tradition) but they have been painted to commemorate a funeral. Some, if not all, of the portraits will be passed down to succeeding generations hanging, as in the later European tradition, in living quarters. The intention is that in the transition from one generation to the next a story will be told of us, the sitters, the artist, and of our mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and great aunt.

There are also two primary aspects that are native to the ceremony. In North American in some pre-Columbian cultures, who buried bodies, those who died in the winter were preserved for burial in the spring when the ground is soft. After the thaw when it is possible to travel, a group funeral gathering and mass graves were arranged.

On the west coast and amongst the inland western tribal groups who traded with them, there was the tradition of Potlatch. Important events were celebrated by the giving of artistic, hand made gifts such as the masks, boxes, and clothing pictured above. The gift giving became a social bond between kin and clans living in different villages.

In the midst of Nouvelle Vous is a set of four portrait paintings that I call "Les Cavaliers" of four friends and relatives who have driven their automobiles while I was their passenger. It is significant in itself but, because I have discovered a method of hanging panels which does not require frames and therefore free of horizontal and vertical orientation I intend for them to be hung like this.


The paintings will be given to the men and their families spread across the continent. Each man does not know all the others, I am their only connection. On the back of each, printed with water proof adventure, passport, map paper; laminated with polymer to the wood will be this depiction of the set. I don't think there are many paintings which depict people driving automobiles. It is a fun thing to do. Perhaps there are collectors of my work in the future and if they are anything like me they would relish the challenge and/or appreciate the depiction of their piece or pieces as part of a quadriptych. Perhaps even my method of hanging will be duplicated or in common use then.

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