A note about the shingle / laneway paintings.
Certainly what I loved the most upon moving to Toronto to attend O.C.A. was that it was an older city (relative to the Ottawa suburb where I spent my high school years) with lots of old walls, businesses, railway tracks, and so on this was the wonderful era before Toronto wanted to be world-class let me tell you, there were a lot of older, rougher areas. I especially liked the laneways. You know - the back laneways where people erect their own home-made garages and park their cars. Its like another world back there
lots of weathered surfaces, textures, old boards, graffiti, and some collapsing structures lovely. Many of the surfaces in my work derived from walking through these laneways, looking, photographing. A lot of this would have been between Parkdale and High Park in the late eighties/early nineties. There were some particularly good laneways between Sorauren and Roncesvalles below Dundas St. West.
The only thing spoiling my enjoyment of these back lanes would be thinking I looked like a creep sauntering through these taking reference pictures with a camera!
This was an era of gentrification which I suppose is always ongoing in all major cities I was able to pick up many art materials apologies if I offended anyone by going into their rented dumpster - old doors especially but also windows, wood, sheet metal. The other thing I liked was walking old warehouse areas where those buildings existed. I also liked these neighborhoods at dusk; liked how light would come through old cracked, frosted glass windows, often the type with those wire reinforcements throughout the glass. This inspired a small series as well, and two of the large shingle paintings have lights behind glass. I liked and still like that time of day when the skyline still has some deep blue in it but lights are on not quite night but not day either.
I had already been using encaustic a bit since the early eighties; having been aware of Jasper Johns work. One day it occurred to me to work with those wooden shims or shingles I had been seeing at various hardware stores
I literally saw myself painting shingles with encaustic, and so I began, often melting it off and repainting several times to create a weathered effect. I also thought why not? What could me a more Canadian art material than wood shingles? I thought it was humorous. In combination with old doors, sheet metal and so on, this is how the large laneway paintings came to be. They are very specific to a certain time and place
Marc Gagne, 2012
P.S. some photos from those days have been added to the site; Feb 2013.