Archive for March, 2011

March 27, 2011

Proverbial Movement

I’m still not sure this is the right title for these pieces that include quotes from Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. But here’s a proverb for the day for you:

proverb of the day:  Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

March 27, 2011

Here Am I

The first piece I started working on sold at my show last night. It has the 3 words “Here am I” embedded in the centre of the cell nucleus. I thought I’d post the biblical reference here (from King James).
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

The other (almost) readable quotation on that art piece is from Genesis:

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

In the area between the two strands of the double helix are other collaged Bible excerpts from Genesis, but they’ve been worked to the extent, they’re no longer readable.

I have another piece with just “here am i” writ large. And I’m not done with that idea.

But I have another idea…

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

March 26, 2011

Reading by Kindle-Light

A friend has lent me her Kindle so I can read my book club pick for next month. (How generous. Would you lend your kindle?) I’m enjoying being able to turn the pages with just my thumb and watching my progress – I’m at 90% and I have to pass it along to another book club member at 2pm today.

Oh, and the book is good too: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell.

Speaking of Kindle-light – turn everything off at 8:30pm tonight for Earth Hour.

March 20, 2011

Artsy sidewalk photos

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Breakfast and a gallery hop along Granville on Friday. Then waiting on the corner when my friend went in to buy a gift certificate. I got to see all this art just lying there on the ground and had my ipod touch with me to snap a few shots. Lovely, don’t you think?

March 20, 2011

Random Acts of Library Fine Paying

When people have overdue library books, what’s your assumption about those kind of people? Me, I figure they’re like me – the longer the book is around, the longer I just forget it’s not mine. Especially if no one asks for it back. (VPL, of course, reminds you regularly). I’m not proud of the fact I pay a fair bit in library fines and would pay more if it wasn’t for the fact that now I can go online and renew things up till midnight of the day they’re due. Given the number of books I borrow, I’d like for people to focus more on my enthusiasm for books and appreciation of the library than on my occasional tardiness.

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March 16, 2011

Crows in Alchemical Engravings

I was searching around for a particular image I’d used in (at least) one of my tarot pieces and found this great online resource.

Alas, however, I did not find the image I was looking for.

March 15, 2011


This is one of the pieces I’ve done that are the result of thinking of the term “genetic scripture” – scripture (in this case Proverbs, not Genesis) and genetics (DNA double helix).

March 15, 2011

A Voyage In Three Parts

My first triptych.


A Voyage In 3 Parts – Left

This one has a part of a map of South America, and lots of texture.


An artist shouldn’t have favorites, but if I did have a favorite, for this batch, I’d pick this one. I’d put on a streak of red, and didn’t like it, so rubbed it off, and i’m rather fond of the staining that remained.







I liked the red gash on the Left one so much, I added a horizontal red gash on this one. Then heightened it with bright red on corrugated cardboard printed on. Then I didn’t like it, so covered up the left 2/3 of it.



Conclusion: red is tricky. Sometimes it works. And other times you have to work with it to put it in its place.

March 13, 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Chauvet cafe paintingsI’m looking forward to the release of this film by Werner Herzog.  A friend lent me an interview in Archaeology magazine.

What do you think about this? “…there are very few attempts to bring images up to the status of our civilization”

Interviewer…   You have said that the imagery of today’s civilization is inadequate, that it is absurd and useless, and that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude as the overcrowding of our planet.

Herzog: When you are looking around at images, when you watch television for six consecutive hours, or when you open a catalog from a travel agency, you immediately know those are worn-out images not really adequate to our state of civilization. If you are lagging behind it is dangerous, and it brings decay with it. … you have a lot of innovation in language.  However, almost worldwide, there are very few attempts to bring images up to the status of our civilization.

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

See the trailer here.

March 7, 2011

Transmutation: New Work

Transmutation: Exhibition at Unitarian Church of Vancouver – March, 2011

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Where It All Began - mixed-media on canvas This was the first piece I worked on and the last one of this sequence to be finished. I was playing with the idea of "genetic scripture" to combine biblical passages with the double helix shape of DNA.

During the Darwin bicentennial (150 years after publication of the Origin of Species), I started reading about Darwin, starting with a biography of Charles and Emma (his wife) written for young adults to a National Geographic series on “What Darwin Didn’t Know” to books and websites about genetics and DNA (including an incomprehensible – to me – website called DNA for Dummies.

When Darwin wrote, “All the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form,” he was, frankly, guessing. To understand the story of evolution — both its narrative and its mechanism — modern Darwins don’t have to guess. They consult genetic scripture.

MODERN DARWINS, by Matt Ridley,
National Geographic, March 2009

The term “genetic scripture” captured my visual imagination and I began to explore integrating biblical passages with the familiar double helix pattern–creating a collage of images inspired by the question of how life began.

Concerned about offending Jews or Christians, it was pointed out that scientists could as easily be offended by my mixing religion and science. I have no intention to offend anyone; those of you who know me understand this. So please consider this just make my own contribution to the ongoing discourse on creation and evolution.

Leaf Helix (left) mixed media on canvas I began to notice double helix shapes all around me. Here I used found, dried leaves to form the pattern. I enjoy picking up objects from nature and incorporating into my art work.

Leaf helix (right section of diptych) In the beginning was... the heaven and the earth... the cell... DNA strands... life emerging from the ocean...

Creation - mixed media on wood panel In the beginning was... what? heaven and earth? the ocean? cells? DNA? This is another genetic scripture piece combining scripture into the double helix DNA image.

Lunar Quaternity - mixed-media on wood panel In this one, I collaged on a dinosaur skeleton and a map in his centre, thinking about how scientists create maps from all kinds of discoveries. I'd like to do a piece putting the old map legend of "There be dragons" in relation to "There be dinosaurs". An exploration of time and space.

Extinction - mixed-media on wood panel "A sob in the spine" is a quotation of Nabokov about what he wants a reader to feel. Nabokov. Here I took images of scientists working on dinosaur skeleton and imagined that they must experience a "sob in the spine" when their right brain kicks in to imagine the dinosaur who once lived on the earth. (Did the dinosaurs have a sob in their spine when they sensed extinction was coming?)

Alchemical Glacier - mixed-media on canvas Alchemical Glacier. I named this one because of my friend suggesting I add a bit of white to create a glacier. Alchemy because of the gold (sun) and silver (moon/reflection) paper.

Quintessential Voyage - mixed-media on canvas Darwin's voyage on the Beagle was anticipated to take 2-3 years, but in fact he was away for five years. In "Charles and Emma" it is reported when asked if he'd recommend it, he said only if the person had a compelling vision and the discipline to carry it out. Made me think of MA and PhD students I've known. His voyage was quintessential in many ways and I enjoyed playing with the "quint" part to reflect the five years.

I’d love to talk with you about what my art work touches in you.

Come to our Artists’ Reception on Saturday, March 26 at 7pm, or drop me a note.

Mary Bennett

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