Maple Tree Outside my Window (2002)

An image of a maple tree first made an appearance in my 1998 exhibition, The Heart of Summer. After I moved to Québec city in the fall of 1999, I developed a growing awareness of maple trees. By March everyone was talking about going to a cabane à sucre where one eats traditional foods and after a dessert of tarte a sucre d’érable, one goes outdoors to lick maple syrup taffy from a paddle one has used to wind it up from the snow where the hot syrup has been poured to puddle and cool. Year round there are signs of les érablieres (sugar maple woodlots) everywhere in the countryside. In autumn the mountains within sight of the city burn orange and scarlet mixed with the greens and yellows of conifers.

I began to wonder if I could capture the poetic essence of these beautiful trees in a way that had not been done before. Could I bring maple trees, which so commonly form a backdrop to our everyday physical and aesthetic experiences, into sharper focus so that I and others might see something we had overlooked before? The maple tree outside my window became the focus of my attention. Although this exploration led me to use new materials, I continued as always to work with the tension between strength and fragility which to me is central to life itself.

Harbinger Gallery, Waterloo 2002