Mary-Beth Laviolette on the work of David More

In her epic tome An Alberta Art Chronicle – Adventures in Recent & Contemporary Art
(Altitude Publishing, 2005), Mary-Beth Laviolette writes of the work of David More:

“…More begins to develop two different streams: The Garden Ceremony and
his so-called “direct” paintings, out of which comes the national touring exhibition
Forest – Fade to Silent (1990)… dealing with the effects of acid rain on New Brunswick
forests… More also continues to explore the range of moods in places known only to the
locals, like the Medicine River near his Red Deer area home. “To understand and
respect even the smallest segment of it can unveil a great deal of our nationʼs psyche.
The landscape continues to be a critical part of that enigma called Canadian.”

Laviolette continues…

”The Garden Ceremony is a more autobiographical, more
international project, inspired by visits to gardens of the United States, England,
Scotland, Canada, France and India. Initially semi-abstract and less site-specific, the
imagery becomes increasingly representational and symbolic as he develops a
repertoire of visual elements, including steps, passageways, reflecting pools and rake
marks, which he likens to a “recording of the brief passage of the human hand across a
tiny portion of the world”… the connection between his direct landscape and his more
conceptualized garden oils and acrylics resides in the human interaction with each one.”

In her essay for the 2012 exhibition The Garden Ceremony which she curated for
the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Laviolette reveals that the exhibition…

”akin to a garden pathway, brings us to certain key points in the artistʼs journey.
Along the way, we are engaged – as any garden visitor is – by the fruits of past efforts
and more recent and bolder acts of creation. In the case of the Garden Ceremony
these earlier efforts are represented by seven works created between 1977 to 1987.
The more recent bolder acts come with The Garden Ceremony with India Forms
(1994-95) and its latest enactment, Warʼs Garden series (2006 to 2009). In both
instances, more unfamiliar ground was staked-out both conceptually and
compositionally. There are the T-shaped canvases of India Forms and the even larger
steps taken in the realization of Warʼs Garden. Fusing childhood recollections of
Second World War fighter aircraft with gardens from his past, the wings of these planes
became both symbol and surface upon which to paint. Thus, The Garden Ceremony is
testament to a theme that, over time, has continued to inspire and move the artist in
directions never contemplated.”

…. “The Garden Ceremony also represents a body of work where substantial
development and growth has contributed to his practice as a painter. Itʼs an unusual
subject by which to accomplish this because overall, in the canon of Canadian art, the
garden is only a minor subject with few recognized examples. In this category, standing
practically alone is The Tangled Garden, painted in 1916 by J.E. H. MacDonald….
for thirty-five years then, The Garden Ceremony as “personal landscape” but also as a
subject with wider aesthetic currency and meaning has made David Moreʼs contribution
to Canadian contemporary art a unique one”

Mary – Beth Laviolette, May 2012

Note: Future images for The Garden Ceremony envision elements from the landscape
of Normandy (continuation of Warʼs Garden) and two new 2014 works of India Forms.
Unknown to all but a few, David More since the mid-80s has been developing works
in his studio based on the human figure.

Shore Figures 11

Prairie Beach # II – 2003

(Early Version of Shore Figures – Sylvan Lake)

Mixed Media on Paper 30 x 41 inches (75 x 103cm)