INDUSTRY is about the urban landscapes in Hamilton, about colour, and about a rich, visual experience of mills and chimneys.
Industrial Hamilton is endlessly interesting to me. I have studied it from every accessible viewpoint; the shapes and angles of its buildings, towers and chutes, the flares and clouds of smoke and steam, cranes and slag piles. I’ve observed its structures up close and its reflections and silhouettes from Eastport Drive and from parks and side streets across the harbour in Burlington.
Driving into the city you cannot miss the hulking, belching shapes of steel mills across the water. At night, darkness hides the grit. Everything is transformed into something different and more compelling. These paintings were inspired by that altered perception.
Eventually, the structures and their settings dissolved into shapes and patterns, of light and dark, and colour. J.M.W. Turner once said that “nothing is ugly or beautiful but that light makes it so.” I agree, and will take the liberty of adding colour to the thought.
The colours in these works happened organically. Strong shapes called for saturated colours.
Oil pastels are available in dozens of colours. However, it’s always necessary to create new colours. I do this by scribble-hatching one or more hues together. This juxtaposition optically produces new hues, similar to the way colours are blended in weaving and embroidery.
While I know what my core subject is about, I am not always sure from the beginning how a painting will look at completion, or even what palette will dominate. This shows up in a kind of dialogue amongst the shapes, my lines and the colours, like a call and response, that goes on until the image has emerged.
Installation view of the South and North walls
Aleda O’Connor is Hamilton resident who grew up in Toronto and graduated in Fine Art from the University of Guelph.
For many years, Aleda spent her summers on a farm at Bond Head north of Toronto Ontario. She was inspired by renowned Canadian artists Charles Comfort and Carl Schaefer, who were family friends and regular visitors to the farm. At Bond Head she acquired a permanent affection for Southern Ontario’s rural agricultural landscape and remains inspired by the geometry of open fields, drumlins and woodlots.
In recent years she has added urban landscapes, particularly the industrial city of Hamilton Ontario to her repertoire of subjects affected by the weather conditions that continuously transform familiar landscapes.
Her travels have taken her across Canada, to the United States, Mexico, Ireland, England, Iceland, France, Italy and Portugal and the Caribbean. While hunting for places that are shaped by weather, she discovered sheep, a subject she has returned to many times.
Every summer she spends several weeks on New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island contemplating the ocean, wind and mists of the Bay of Fundy.
Her work has been shown in galleries in Canada and South Korea and is represented in private collections in Canada, the United States and Ireland. Her paintings are featured on sets for such television programs as Orphan Black, Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, Mary Kills People and Workin’ Moms.
"...I have been pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, experimenting with unfamiliar media and techniques and giving myself permission to have as much fun as possible. My routine is varied but I like to get started early while everything is quiet."