Yellow Horizon, 2015, Charlene Vickers (Anishnabe), Watercolour and pencil crayon on paper, 19” x 14”, $800 unframed

Original size is 1500 × 1156 pixels

The focus of the work is the energy and contrasting colours moving through its in-the-moment moments act of painting. I am expressing a self-reclamation of territory and presence via surreal abstraction and psychedelic renditions of land and water. Formally the Zig Zag pattern structurally composes the rhythm and movement of the eye over the surface of the work while further anchoring my act of painting as a cultural gesture inspired by traditional quill embroidery. In thinking about the flatness of this work I am thinking of the life of the quill unto itself. Quills that once grew from the body of the porcupine are then hand-plucked, dyed, flattened and sewn to a hide in a folded over zig zag method. Transformation of the porcupine quill from defensive armour growing from a living body is then manipulated by hand into decorative embroidery is an invention of pure genius by my ancestors. I have been learning quill work and appreciate the level of patience and skill that you must develop over time. Repetition of the zig zag is an extension of this repetitious activity. Formally, the zig zag organizes each work creating windows that frame depictions of mountains, suns, moons, and water. The rhythm of each work echo patterns in nature, animals, and the cycles of life. These cycles inform my bodily presence that moves through natural and urban landscapes. – Charlene Vickers