The Drawers - Lorne Wagman   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Situation, Positioning, Location

The 'bounty of the hunt' paintings that proliferated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Jean Baptiste Weenix or Frans Snyder turned to dead animals as subject matter with the romanticism of the kill associated with the pride of man in his dominion over the birds and the beasts. Lorne Wagman's “Dead Rabbit”, lying as if it had tripped and fallen mid-stride in a playful leap through the field, is the direct opposite. Rather than lording above the bestiary, Wagman's work identifies. It is evident even when it is flora rather than fauna. It requires the dedication of close encounters to understand and record the squiggles and squirms of the bush. With the sensitive lines of a competent draftsman, Lorne Wagman passes over to those not calm enough to spend the time observing the comings and goings of nature or to those not brave enough to endure the outdoor distractions of weather - a complex eco system where weeds have a spot as relevant as death and trees become symbols for the sublime.

Lorne double-lines the miniscule and hence it assumes a greater significance. A blade of grass is outlined rather than rendered with a singular line. There is the memory of a hymn - “God sees the little sparrows fall” in the renderings for there is equanimity in place. Weather it is a weed, rock or cloying lichen, each is treated like an individual. These are crowds of portraits with the identity of each element as important as the mass. Each patch is different from the next attesting to the attention paid in the divine creation. “The humble shall inherit the earth.” There are many biblical notions in this work for who but one who is sufficiently humble to listen and look would be granted the particular powers of observation to discern between blades or leaves or branches? With the rigor of a monk-like discipline and unwavering focus, Wagman conducts his practice in sync with his lifestyle and does indeed inherit great riches - the talent to communicate the concerns of the creator through his art.

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