Benalto artist Dave More has always been intrigued by Canadian skies — so much so that he’s made them the focus of his most recent exhibit currently on display in Red Deer.
Vanishing Point features 13 of More’s climate change-related works, borne of his observation that the sky may not be as friendly as he once thought.
That particular revelation came to More on July 14, 2000 — the day a tornado killed 12 people at a campground beside Pine Lake.
“I was out painting that day, and the sky became this apocalyptic thing that I wound up painting,” said More. “It turned out I actually painted the cloud or one of the clouds that formed to become the tornado.”
That particular painting remains in More’s own private collection, and isn’t part of Vanishing Point, which is currently housed at Sunworks in downtown Red Deer.
It did, however, provide the inspiration for plenty of his other works.
“In the past, I’ve been painting skies as these benign, beautiful cathedrals in the sky, and everything was lovely,” he said. “They were just sort of a symbol of the prairie, and suddenly they were killing us.”
For years, More struggled to portray his new outlook through his work, but in 2010, he finally came to terms with it, and began creating what would eventually become Vanishing Point.
“These paintings have a lot of symbols in them,” he said. “There will this massive storm passing, and it’s interesting because the viewer can either interpret it as the storm has just passed, or it’s coming. That’s the nature of the reality we’re facing.”
He hopes his paintings will help awaken people’s minds to the very real threat of climate change.
“(There are) little hints of symbolism of what we’re used to, what we hold dear and what is tradition, but being threatened,” he said. “It’s kind of an artistic way of making a statement in that sense.”
While More considers the exhibit to be “all Canadian” — portraying scenes from Quebec, New Brunswick and all across the prairies — many of the paintings are locally influenced.
The Medicine River, Blindman Valley and a small abandoned church near Eckville are just some of the local features that find themselves part of More’s work.
Vanishing Point was presented to the public on Nov. 8 with about 200 people attending throughout the day. The exhibit is on display in the Coconut Room, located in the Sunworks upstairs area.
Downstairs is a separate exhibit featuring 17 of More’s forest- and garden-related works.
Both are open to the public. Vanishing Point wraps up Jan. 3.