William Pura
artist's statement

The work in this exhibition spans a period of over 15 years. In the mid-1980's I had been reevaluating my artistic concerns, which had been largely involved with abstraction. In re-embracing the landscape as the primary source for my imagery, I became aware of the dichotomy between my concerns with the urban landscape, the poetry of man-made spaces, and the wilderness landscape where the forces at work were often of a more subtle nature. As well, the wilderness environment as seen through the devices of pictorial space seemed to be trapped by the clichés of 19th and early 20th century art. I decided then to develop my concepts of the wilderness landscape largely through use of built objects, with pictorial space playing a minor role.

My feelings about the landscape were developed further upon reading the letters of the British poet Rupert Brook who toured Canada in 1912 and whose insights into the people and the land are relevant even today. In particular, his view of the landscape, largely as a result of his time spent in Manitoba, indicated a new range of possibilities for my work. His commentary on the absence of mythologies attached to the land, (and of course his lack of knowledge of any aboriginal sources) clarified the fact that for most of westernized Canadians, the lack of any mythologies connected to the wilderness landscape is still the primary viewpoint today. Perhaps the only myth attached to the Canadian wilderness space is that it is largely a blank slate...

The sense of poetry and the inherent symbolism possible within the interaction of the man-made structures of the urban landscape goes back to the artwork of the Italian, Canaletto. In the 20th century, with the growth of North American cities, both the paintings and the film (particularly film noir) gave our culture a way of interacting with the urban spaces and in effect adding content to them (Edward Hopper's Nighthawks is a perfect example). The same cannot be said for the wilderness landscape.

My approach to this show has been to take elements from the Nordic mythologies involved with the northern woods and imagine what they might look like if they were imbedded in our Canada's wilderness. In keeping with my original feelings of pictorial versus "real" space these are largely sculptural objects where pictorial space is secondary.

The artist would like to thank those who helped with various aspects of the exhibition: Dan Dell'Agnese, David McMillan, Andrew McMillan, Danny Teichmann of Henry Forge, and choreographer, Brent Lott.



Click here to listen to a sample of the music from Der Holzweg: The Way Through The Woods,
featuring cellist Mark Rudoff and recorded on 2002. The length of the complete piece is 6' 30".
All rights reserved, 2007.