Darkness allows the mind to wander, but it is given shape by light. The moon, the porch light, fireworks — without them the darkness spills out forever into the universe, unfettered. I paint to delineate the edges of that darkness, to carve out little patches of light, bursts of joy and moonlight, that help give shape to the night.
50% of all sales from this exhibition will be donated to The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
This winter, the starved wolves rage at the full pulsing moon and venture deeper into the forest, toward the scrim of yellow light.
A man with a 12 gauge shotgun drives along the river road toward them.
They stand on sheets of ice, their feet spreading, and lap at dried blood with their rough tongues.
A missing child sees her shadow in the moonlight.
Her arm is injured: she uses moss to stop the bleeding.
The cold spreads like a wolf’s paw hooking bare flesh, lapping its frailty with its rough tongue.
There is no one beyond the water and the woods, only yellow light.
A black wolf wonders if the shed contains food and maddened, pads toward its open door.
It could be a black cat, she says and worries its fur with her brush.
The sun shrinks further into its nest of albumin.
The man passes the shed and in passing, blows its door open. An old pitchfork, bloodied with rust, falls to the floor.
The girl finds a 7-Eleven bag filled with 7-Eleven bags and makes a blanket.
The wolf pack picks their way forward.
The man’s shadow metastasizes, fills the forest it seems.
The girl starts to run.
She paints the sky as a series of breaths, the dark breathing of nocturnal animals.
Inside the river, the fish lie suspended in orbits of ice, gasping.
His pockets are filled with bits of downy blanket.
Downtown, the girl’s parents wring their hands and describe her.
The light in their kitchen murmurs in soft yellow.
Tabitha is four: she is kind and smart. She loves the woods: we forgot to latch the door, and when we looked in on her, she was gone.
Her hamster, Honey, misses her. “Tell her that, tell Tabby to come home.”
Black wolf shrinks into the shadows; the man moves forward leaving big, sinking holes on the floor.
She paints the shadows in layers, giving shape to the night.
The girl climbs a tree and finds a vacated squirrel’s nest filled with scraps of fabric, moss and leaves. She rolls into a ball.
The sun, fractious, moves forward.
A boy works a worm onto a hook and, without curiosity, watches its death.
It’s still dark, his father says, but the night has started to become hazy; backlit.
They read about the missing girl, “I know her,” the boy says, and strokes his feathered lures.
She paints an orange dawn, quickly, but the dark resists her and she sits back for she is in the thrall of its bursts of joy and moonlight.
For the night cuts the day like a guillotine and releases danger, releasing also its creatures, blind, soft and knowing.
An old woman rows along the shore, her boat filled with berries and the things she finds in the dark.
The man walks toward the tree.
The wolves form a vector and follow. They are shadow coloured, white, grey and black.
Appaloosa: a horse wearing their colours drinks from the river, then bolts at the sound.
The man fires into the trees.
She paints the old woman with crushed berries, leaving her boat and ransacking her parcels.
She withdraws a child’s nightgown, it is blue with white daisies.
A grey wolf watches.
At the dock, the man and the boy, bundled up, hear the gunshots and step back.
The girl drops.
The man reaches and
The old woman lights sparkler after sparkler, then fireworks. Then a stick of dynamite.
The man’s hands squeeze her and
She paints her blowing bursts of light that travel through the woods like a seam.
The wolves are illuminated.
The man falls.
The wolves reach them and take him apart.
The girl stands beside them picks up his gun.
A grey wolf offers her a child’s nightgown.
She dresses and hugs each animal, in turn.
The man and the boy drive home. The father cracks a window and lets the worms go.
The old woman brings her berries to the shed and lies down, after securing the door.
Tabitha’s parents find their daughter.
Carrying a rifle on the road that faces the woods, in torn pyjamas, her hair wild; her body scratched and covered with fur.
The girl tells them she will return each night.
To be the light that gives shape to darkness; to paint this some day.
She shoots the sun and the night rolls up like a carpet.
The animals lie in wait.