It's fitting that the slogan of Paleczny's home territory is "Larger Than Life", as her latest work embodies this very idea.

A combination of three-dimensional, and two-dimensional pieces, Suzanne Paleczny's HUMAN / NATURE asks the viewer about their impact on the natural world. More specifically, how that impact is not always positive.

 

HUMAN / NATURE

Opens: September 7, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Yukon Arts Centre

On display Sept 7 - Nov 26, 2017

 

Artist Statement:

Human/Nature is a multi-media exhibition that consists of a series of large oil paintings and a large sculpture installation.
This body of work stems from a troublesome question: why do we seem unable to stop ourselves from destroying the world? It is a question that perplexed me even as a child in the early 70’s as I watched smoke spew from the stacks of industries along the St. Marys River in Sault Ste Marie. If we knew that pollution was bad, why, I worried, was it still allowed to flow unimpeded into the sky.
Scientific evidence points to increasingly catastrophic consequences of our actions. Most of us understand this on an intellectual level, yet we continue to act in ways that contradict this knowledge. Perhaps a fundamentally flawed worldview is to blame; a worldview that has evolved over eons by an increasingly complex cultural world that we have constructed fortress-like around ourselves. Like a clearing in a forest that grows so large that its centre retains no trace or memory of its former condition, I wonder if we too have lost sight of our origins. Over time have we forgotten, or perhaps more profoundly, do we no longer really believe, that we too are nature?
How do we dismantle the layers that separate us from the natural world? All life on earth emerged from the amniotic waters of ancient oceans. Our bodies still retain vestiges of our watery past, but what about our memory? Do traces of our early incarnations also reside in a collective unconscious? For millennia, humans have contemplated humanity and posited myriad creation myths; humans emerged from giant oak trees, fish, soil, air, the cosmos. None of these are wrong; our cells contain atoms from all of these things.
I explore these notions in this exhibition by combining realist portraiture with surrealism. The large oil paintings examine the relationship between humans and nature through ruminations about species extinctions, motherhood and the vastness of space. A hand-built forest of larger than life humans made from Yukon driftwood and clay attempts to re-establish ambiguity, to blur the line between human and other organic matter.  The works are intended to be fanciful but not frivolous, and the exhibition mnemonic rather than didactic. If we could remember that the ocean was our mother, would we still dump garbage into her?