Moira Clark: Dark Landscapes
A year of painting the city’s peripheral spaces
June 17 to July 1, 2023 (Hours Wednesday to Saturday 1 – 4 pm)
Opening Reception: Saturday June 17, 2 to 5 pm
Dupont Rail, 1444 Dupont Street, Unit 10, Toronto
(southeast corner of the complex)
In January of 2022 one of Moira Clark’s watercolour students asked her if she could talk about painting using only black pigment. The ensuing class demonstration was the beginning of her experiments with ivory black watercolour and led into an almost obsessive period of painting that eventually resulted in a large series of monochrome landscapes. Clark found that she was painting representationally again after a long stretch with oil paint and colour-based abstract works. What started as an exploration of painting with black became an ongoing observation of places and seasons within the peripheral urban landscape. Using black watercolour was a revelation because there is such a broad range of tones in any landscape. The landscape genre is traditionally colourful, especially in Canadian art, but to her the black and white images seemed a relevant and metaphoric way to examine another aspect of this subject. Clark went to local, natural, and semi-wild areas within the urban environment where she took photographs and painted “en plein air” for what has turned into a continuing project.
Moira Clark has lived in Toronto all her life but in creating this body of work, she rediscovered the strong presence of natural environments co-existing within the urban setting of this city. These places are often on the outskirts or peripheries: the waterfront, the islands, the rivers, the parks, and the ravines. They are areas in the process of being preserved, restored, created, and sometimes threatened. All contain and foster a variety of wildlife: birds especially, but also turtles, frogs, insects, beavers, minks, deer, coyotes and of course, fish. Water is a strong presence appropriately since Toronto was founded on the edge of a lake with its tributary rivers and creeks. Humans like and regularly use these places to walk, relax, exercise, swim, and socialize and Clark recognizes how these spaces are so essential to the city as it continues to grow. These paintings, that also represent a survey of seasons and climate, are observations that document some of these various natural places within Toronto, with more to come.
About the artist
Moira Clark was born, lives and works in Toronto. As an artist she has worked as a printmaker (etching) and a painter in acrylics, oil, and watercolour. She has taught printmaking, watercolour, and acrylic painting at various art schools in the Toronto area and now teaches watercolour painting and abstract acrylic painting online.
Clark’s own work has spanned many forms, from representational still lifes and interior views with references to light, to abstract paintings motivated by colour with geometric and organic compositions drawn from landscape, architecture, and music. In the winter of 2021-22 Clark began painting a series of watercolours in ivory black pigment inspired by her own photographs of Toronto. These dark landscapes signify a return to her appreciation of tones and values acquired during her earlier career as an etcher.
Clark earned her BFA from York University and has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions in Toronto and across Canada as well as in many group exhibitions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton and Albright Knox, Buffalo, NY. Her prints and paintings have been bought by the Art Gallery of Hamilton, The Canada Council Art Bank, Bank of Montreal, and other public and private collections. Clark made her prints at the Toronto printmaking atelier Open Studio, and she was a founding member of the artist-run gallery collective Loop in 2000. In 2008 her work was represented in the Magenta publication Carte Blanche Vol. 2: Painting, showcasing 42 contemporary Canadian painters. She was an artist-in-residence at Pouch Cove, Newfoundland in 2004, and at Alchemy, Prince Edward County in 2019. In 2017 she received an Established Artist Grant from the Toronto Arts Council.
About Dupont Rail
Dupont Rail is a premium event space designed primarily to showcase art.
Located near the Junction Triangle in a commercial condo complex, the 800 ft2 space has great wall-space and lighting. Also features a garage door for to facilitate moving art into and out of the space.
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 1 – 4 pm
By appointment at other times: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessibility: Dupont Rail is fully accessible.