Carianne Mack Garside | Artist Statement
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Artist Statement


Years ago while drawing outside, shadows from a tree above me cast themselves onto my sketchbook. Tracing one of the forms started my investigation of the relationship between unpredictable, chaotic occurrences and deliberate ones: unplanned forms from the natural world with intentional marks of my hand. Since this initial collaboration I have been building images based on dynamic structures formed beyond my control or conscious decision: tree shadow patterns, water reflections, pooled stains of paint, and most recently, the gravity-affected scattering of natural debris.
 
The composition of my paintings is arrived at largely by chance. Recently this has entailed tossing detritus such as flower petals into the air and tracing where these elements land. I think of the remainder of my painting process like Tasseography (reading tea leaves). Or like selecting stones from a walk on the beach. Or like cleaning up after a hurricane.
 
Certain tree species rely on natural disaster for perpetuation. The Black Spruce, for example, needs the high temperatures of forest fire to open up its protective cones to release seeds. As well, the littered forest floor needs to be cleared of detritus to expose clear fertile soil for these new growths to take root. My paintings are equally dependent on accident, and strive to arrive at some kind of order through coexistence, camouflage, and pruning. I have always been fascinated with what can be discovered in even the smallest patch of plain ground if you look at it closely enough. The most seemingly mundane square inch of earth holds infinite, minuscule insects, grains of dirt and specks of who knows what. I am drawn to works of art with similar layers of grit and beauty.