with Lyndal Osborne, Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery
Sept. 5, 2014 - Jan. 4, 2015
Artist statement for "In My Own Back Yard"
Exhibition catalogue published by Glenhyrst Art Gallery. With articles by Phil Jenkins, Marcia Lee, and David D. Plain.
Courtesy of the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia
Mary Abma describes her artistic process. Courtesy of Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery.
My artwork represents a series of explorations about what it means to be human. I visit themes that relate to universal experiences that are present in our own life narratives. I am especially interested in exploring the bridges that bring us into a connection with our past, those that bring us into a relationship with the natural world, and those that lead us to question who we are.
For years now, my artistic practice has involved digging deeply into a theme, or idea, researching it, and developing a visual response to this research through series of artworks. The artworks are executed in a variety of media, including but not limited to painting, mixed media works, lumen photography, installation art, and found object constructions. My choice of media varies from exhibition to exhibition, and is dictated by the needs and parameters of the project. There are several thematic threads that run through my work. My love for science and the humanities is part of my identity and has become the basis for who I am as an artist. In recent years, my art has revolved around the study of botany--specifically, botanical practices that have led to ecosystem degradation and homogenization.
The issues surrounding biodiversity loss are broad and far-reaching. To explore all aspects artistically would take a lifetime.Recognizing this, I decided to do so in a very small way. Although it is perhaps easiest to lay all the blame for our environmental woes at the feet of industry and multinational corporations, I felt compelled to begin my exploration at home. We are told that we are all responsible for the degradation and homogenization of our ecosystems but I wanted to know how much my own lack of attention to biodiversity issues might impact the environment around me.I chose to examine this global issue, therefore, through an artistic and scientific investigation of a suburban lot in Bright’s Grove, Ontario. My own yard with its soil, seed, and flora became my laboratory and provided the boundaries for this exhibition--one which took me from the study of my own plants to the writings of historical figures who were bent on the conquest of this land and its people.
The aim of my works is not to propose answers to our widespread environmental and social problems. Rather, by turning a lens onto the soil and seeds that I “possess” (but knew almost nothing about until I undertook this project), my artworks in this exhibition seek to inspire people to take a really close look at environment at their feet. It is my hope that the artworks may also offer the basis for discussion on issues of biodiversity, and of environmental and social responsibility.