The Paintings

This series has been variously titled The Toilet Project, Bathroom Pictures, Bathrooms and The Bathroom Paintings. I;m kind of liking "Paintings of Bathrooms" lately.

The project evolved from a long fascination with the public/private space of public washrooms, change rooms and bathhouses and the well-known, oft-unspoken nature of these places as sites of anonymous sex. I have been taking photographs in empty bathrooms and shower rooms for twenty years, and decided for my residency this summer to explore this archive of photos with the idea to create a small series of erotically charged artworks.

Of all the works in the series only this one incorporates gold leaf. I often use gold leaf in my work always as a nod towards the notion of value always existing in even the most mundane quarters. Over the course of my residency the impulse to imbue the works with erotic overtones faded and I seemed more drawn simply to the oddness of the idea of photographing and painting these unusual places.

I have photographed bathrooms around the world. For the works in this series I selected locations primarily in North Dakota, Minneapolis, my hometown of Winnipeg and Toronto where I lived for many years. Because I worked for a number of years on the Songs for Spirit Lake project with NDMOA, travelling regularly to Spirit Lake Dakota Nation and spending time in many of it’s towns, including Fort Totten, and Minnewaukan, and Sheyenne, many of the works are from my travels for that project. The photograph used for the work in the auction was taken in the men’s shower room at Big Rock Campground in northern Manitoba where I taught a week long painting workshop in 2013.