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Swimming Dogs #2 in Giudecca Canal, Venice, Italy, Mixed Media on Panel, 2010
Venice, Italy is one of my favorite cities. The color, the light, the canals, and the absence of cars and other road vehicles make the city stunningly beautiful. The mixed media art shown here was made combining my original photographs taken in Venice, Italy with painting materials.
Drifting through the winding streets of Venice, slowing down and getting lost is the best way to experience the special city. During my wanderings, I found domesticated animals running off-leash. In the public spaces that alternate from empty to full, these animals epitomize freedom. Off-leash and liberated, they are playful yet can turn instantly threatening.
Dogs Swimming in Giudecca Canal #1, Venice, Italy, Mixed Media on Panel, 2010
Domesticated animals have a long, honored history in Venice. Two examples of Venetians' love of dogs are:
1. Saint Roch, the Patron Saint of Dogs, to which the Church of Saint Roch is dedicated. A beautiful statue in the church shows Sant Roch and the dog that saved his life by bringing him bread and licking his wounds; and
2. Peggy Guggenheim and her 14 dogs resting in eternal peace beside her in Venice.
The animals in Venice today drift around the streets, and in and out of our awareness. They occupy a timeless presence, haunting the squares and dead-end canals. When visiting Venice, I explored the mysteries of lingering Venetian spirits through reading books (fiction and non-fiction) and visiting historical sites. Gravestone for Peggy Guggenheim's Dogs in Venice, Italy
By getting lost a lot, I discovered hidden corners of the city. I stumbled upon places that felt magical because of the changing light and ethereal atmosphere. In Venice I used photographs, drawings and paintings to document my experiences and observations. I tried to capture the colors and strange sights.
Spying Cat in Calle #1, Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy, Mixed Media on Panel, 2010
Once home in Toronto, I used all three media (photographs, drawings and paintings) to create new artwork based on my perception, memory and feeling of a haunted place. The result: reflections of a city from the point-of-views of animals, ghosts and free spirits.
Distortions in light and perception lead to the viewer to question what appears to be real and commonplace. Strange visions occur: a regular cat becomes king of the alley; two dogs stop water traffic in the canal; a lonely dog preaches to the tourists; the city melts into the canal on a hot day.
Sleeping Calle Cat #1, Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy, Mixed Media on Panel, 2010