Meat Matters: Head Hold

40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2007

Being an omnivore and growing up in the big city of Toronto, I began to feel very disconnected with the source of the food that I ate in the last few years I was living there. Using The Sacred and the Propane as a starting point, I developed the Meat Matters series as a way to confront (and confront others about) the nature of our food –that is, living things that die for our sustenance, rather than simply being dead objects bought in a grocery store. The intent of these paintings isn't to say "don't eat meat" or "don't kill animals," but rather "if you do [directly or indirectly] kill animals for their meat, consider and respect them."

The concept of the first few paintings of this series was to depict young business men and women in the financial district of Toronto (around Bay & King) fending for themselves and slaughtering cattle to take home and consume. It evolved slightly with Butcher and Dinner, but I got sidetracked by other pressing matters before it became a larger series. However, I did get to pay tribute to the actual source of the food we eat by painting a number of local Prince Edward County farmers in my Field to Canvas series, which was a natural extension of (and sort of the flipside of) Meat Matters.

Stylistically, I approached the first few paintings in a monochromatic way, giving the backgrounds and the figures their own thematic colours, enabling the red blood to really pop.


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