Flight of the Monarch- Artist Statement


This exhibition encompasses the theme of development and growth achieved by means of a journey. Comprised of both early and current works, the lifespan narrative of the Monarch butterfly is shown as it progresses from caterpillar and chrysalis (2012), to emerging as butterfly and the migration journey it spans over four generations (2016). In addition to the literal narrative, a story of Christian spirituality is also embedded within the work.

 Metamorphosis- from caterpillar to chrysalis (2012)

The series begins with a black and white colour scheme, as that is all Monarch caterpillar is able to see. The selective colouring (pink) has been used to show how the chrysalis acts as the catalyst bringing transformation from caterpillar to butterfly in the life of the Monarch. Only after emerging from the chrysalis is the Monarch able to see in colour, and better yet- in the ultraviolet spectrum.

On a spiritual note, the black and white represents the natural/physical way of viewing the world, whereas the progression to full colour highlights the increase in depth and visual insight   by the butterfly. This can be likened to an increase in ‘vision’ and direction in life and direction someone can find through faith in Christ. The pink chrysalis is also symbolic of God’s perfect, flawless love, and how this can be a catalyst for bringing about inner change and transformation in an individual’s life.

The Great Migration (2016)

The second half of the work shows the journey of the monarch as well as the diversity of landscapes encountered along the journey. The compositions for the landscapes were created using google maps by ‘zooming in’ and taking screenshots of various locations where a monarch might travel on its journey. The created perspective is like that of the butterfly viewing the landscape from a bird’s eye perspective. In addition, the paintings are laid flat on the floor where they are viewed from above, thus increasing the viewer’s sensation of viewing the landscapes in a way that resembles aerial photography.

To further the notion of different viewpoints and spirituality, the butterfly/landscape works can be viewed under three different light settings- daylight, ultraviolet light, and in the dark (glow in the dark). Viewed in daylight, this is like seeing the world from a completely physical perspective, where ‘seeing is believing’. In contrast, viewing the work under ultraviolet light is like the inner thoughts and depth of the mind. Illuminated is the conflict and contrast between the aqua colour (representing spirit/God’s will) and the red/orange tones (sinful nature/destruction/deception). This is like the tug-of-war inside the human mind between what is right and what is wrong.  Then, the third and final means of viewing is in the pitch blackness where only the aqua colour remains. This represents the spiritual aspect of mankind and the ever-present spirit of God that works in and around those who have faith in Him. It also seeks to reveal the hidden nature of God and show that not everything is as it first seems- that there is more to life than meets the eye.


New works

I’m soooo glad folio has been handed in! My work has taken a new direction including lace-up shoes as well as the butterflies and I think I’ll continue to explore the possibilities during the holidays.  Within my own life I really do consider God to be (metaphorically) the shoe lace in my life, that holds my life together and gives it meaning and purpose like a shoe with its laces tied so it won’t fall off. I don’t exactly know where there the work will lead to but oh well- one brush stroke at a time….!

Painting Folio Ideas

In the area of painting, I’m currently playing around with the ideas of maps and mapping multiple ideas and layering in my work. Due to the spiritual philosophy behind my work being extremely difficult to illustrate visually, I’ve decided to use the migratory patterns of the monarch butterfly as a metaphor for my spiritual journey and experiences.  At the moment I’m experimenting with handmade paper maps,  the possibility of artist books involving maps , inventing map symbols and creating postcard-type pictures resembling  “snapshot’ like images of the monarch and its experiences.  With these visual tools, I will hopefully be able to make  a parallel comparison between the journey of the monarch and my spiritual life, which is quite challenging to express to others in an effective way.

Monarch Info

Found this really interesting documentary about the monarch butterfly in which i am currently taking artist inspiration from. It includes info about its trasformation from caterpiller to butterfly as well as their annual migration across America. This is part 1 of 6 clips that are approx 10 mins each.  Its well worth watching!