The Crooked Trees of Alticane
September 8 - October 29, 2011
Ken Dalgarno "The Crooked Trees of Alticane" (2011) from Matthew Garand on Vimeo.
Songs of the Transformed
Ken Dalgarno lives in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Ken is self taught and considers himself an “outsider artist”. When asked about his creative influences he cites Degas, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and a Saskatchewan sculptor, Joe Fafard. Dalgarno says.” I want to continue to work on subject matter I can relate to and am passionate about. I choose down to earth subject matter and I want to stay grounded in that philosophy”. Ken works full-time at the Moose Jaw Public Library to support his painting career. Books have always played a significant role in his life. He studied English at the University of Saskatchewan before becoming a painter.
The exhibition features a series of paintings that depict extraordinary trees growing in a small grove near the small town of Hafford, Saskatchewan. The Crooked Trees of Alticane are trembling aspens that have mutated and whose branches twist and turn at incredible angles. Often a tree will loop 360 degrees like a corkscrew. Another example shows an entire tree growing horizontally, intertwining and balancing on a nearby tree in a symbiotic manner. The trembling aspen possesses a peculiar whispering trait. Their leaves spin and flutter with the slightest breeze. This rustling sound can be quite unsettling when everything else around is seemingly still. Dalgarno says,” The spirit of the crooked trees is palpable. There are so many rhythms flowing in this small tract of land”. To add to the mystery an adjacent grove of aspens not more than 20 meters away grows straight and tall.
The painter’s earthy style is emotional and tactile … the paint is layered and sculpted creating the rhythms Ken feels emanating from the land. Much of what he paints is quite personal. Dalganos’ family farm is in the area. His ancestors were among the first pioneers to homestead and farm in the Moose Jaw district in the 1880’s. He mourns the loss of the connection to the land as so many local farmers have given up the traditional lifestyle. The bond with the land is slowly fading as farming becomes less a family operation and more a corporate endeavor. The idea of nature imparting wisdom to those who choose to see was never more succinctly stated than when Cherokee Chief Sequoia said,” To be one with the trees is to know Life within your own spirit”.
Ken Dalgano: The Crooked Trees of Alticane is sponsored by:
Kalispell Grand Hotel Kootenai Resource Corporation