Artist crafts conversation with days-long painting in Uplands

‘I’m interested in the conflation of natural with human as if they express one another’

Tucked away in the corner of a Garry oak meadow, artist Jeremy Herndl creates a conservation in paint.

“I wanted to come do large paintings that take quite a bit of time on site and I wanted to do these paintings of human spaces,” Herndl says. “This is Uplands Park and it looks like nature

but there’s a lot of human history in this place. It’s been used be the Lekwungen people for millennia, we use it currently and there’s a lot of human use.”

Herndl applied for funding to create a series of large scale images painted over serveral days outdoors – a format he’s familiar with.

“I’m interested in the conflation of natural with human as if they express one another,” the Victoria artist says. “That’s what my painting practice is about. Standing here, looking and responding, looking and responding and the light changes and the colour changes.”

The information comes from passers-by, the garter snake that keeps visiting and the little birds chirping, along with changing light nad weather.

“I chose this specific place because for thousands of years indigenous people … they cultivated this place,” he says. “The human interaction with this place is its nature. It’s part of its natural legacy. We tend to think of humans and nature as distinct, but they’re not, they’re the same.”

He plans to work on sites across BC, with Uplands Park taking hold this week, and a potential revisit as he works toward a “collaboration with the place.”

It’s part of challenging himself to find a different kind of image.

“I’m interested in making a painting that’s going to keep changing. So the painting itself is kind of animate,” he says.

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Jeremy Herndl paints in en plein air for several days in Uplands Park this week in a bid to capture the conversation on canvas. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

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