Artist’s talk offers insight to gallery exhibit
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Colourful paintings, experimental ceramics, and digital images fill the Amelia Douglas Gallery for P. Thomas Wood’s exhibit, Art as Therapy. The artist made an appearance on February 21 where he spoke to a large audience of students and faculty about how he created his work and the inspiration behind his art.
The artwork featured on the exhibit’s poster, Birth from the series “Transformation, Self-Appropriation,” is a collection of miniaturized and randomized versions of Wood’s previous art.
Using the computer programming skills he acquired in college, he cleverly integrated a randomizing program originally used for a solitaire computer game into his illustrating program, which allowed him to transform his previous artwork into a new piece of art.
“What I’m doing is taking my own paintings, putting a digital image into the computer, running it through the randomizer and mutating my own artwork,” he said.
For the Birth piece, it took Wood seven months to randomize his previous artwork and fit the pieces together while keeping colour theory in mind, which was not an easy task.
“The randomizer that I made randomizes the picture when I put it into the program and then I’ve got to save it, otherwise if I do anything else it’ll randomize it again,” Wood said. “And even when I save it, it still randomizes it! So I’ve got to be two paintings back before I even do anything, otherwise I lose the one I just made.”
Wood’s recent work includes a variety of art from handprints to teacups to political pieces. His series “Flagmentation” began after several galleries turned down his work because it wasn’t political enough, so he decided to try his hand at political art. These works depict the Canadian and American flags in ways that represent the country’s current situation.
His version of the Canadian flag features a red maple leaf on a white background with colourful stripes and patterns. The piece represents Canada’s multiculturalism beyond red and white, and explores how the country takes its natural resources for granted. His version of the United States flag is a large, red target on a white background with a small blue square full of stars in the left corner. The target represents the current state of the US: a country that has become a target to outside forces.
Coincidentally, while Wood discussed his political art, Douglas College aired the Canada vs. US 2014 Olympic hockey game nearby in the campus concourse, with fans cheering loudly enough to be heard from the gallery. Wood thought it was appropriate that his political work would be discussed during the Olympic Games since often there are many athletes and attendees who wave their country’s flag around to show their patriotic support.
Art as Therapy will be on display in the Amelia Douglas Gallery at the Douglas College New Westminster campus until April 11.
To learn more about Wood’s art, visit his website at patrickwoodartworx.wix.com/artworx