MSR: Eurasian Magpie, Cockatiel, Hummingbird

November 10th, 2016 § 1 comment § permalink

We uses mirrors to understand reality, ourselves and animals. In 1970, Gordon G. Gallup developed the mirror self-recognition test (MSR) to determine if humans were the only beings with a concept of self. Animals were presented with a mirror before and after their skin was marked with a red dot. If an animal interacted with the red dot on itself, the test indicated it understood the mirrored image belonged to his or her own body. The only bird with this ability is the eurasian magpie.



What is interesting about the study on magpies is the discovery that self-recognition does not necessarily reside in the neocortex area of the brain. Unlike mammals, magpies do not have a neocortex and have independently evolved their impressive cognitive abilities.
We measure intelligence and consciousness according to our own cognitive capabilities and vision, our primary sense. A mirror is only the skin of reality. In this series, I adorn a mirror with narcissi, or daffodils. Its namesake is shared with the word, narcissism, and Narcissus, a hunter from Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection.
Among the daffodils, a bird gazes into its own reflection. In our interpretation, however, the bird cannot see itself. In my series, the skin is covered with the silver peel of a mirror, effectively erasing the bird’s face and body in the reflection. Animal minds and their experience of reality are as mysterious as the realm behind a mirror. In this series, the birds escape our bias in their erasure.
*The mirror with the eurasian magpie is the only bird in the series without silver leaf because it passed the MSR.
Please check back soon as I plan to do a post featuring the birds in 360 degrees!



November 3rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I have been preparing for my third show at Navillus Gallery!



Opening Reception:

November 17th


110 Davenport Road

One of the two series I will be exhibiting is The Replicators. While hiking through Tortugera National Park, I was impressed with the variety of plant species and their many survival solutions, particularly the epiphytes. These plants survive many feet off the air, growing on top of branches of large trees.

Since the series began four years ago, I have been inspired by other gardens exhibiting wild growth and patterns. Coral, crystals, flowers and ferns are some of the forms that I abstract and synthesize in this new chapter. These pieces are a meditation on how replicators bloom, mutate, wither and spread. I am especially touched by their perseverance and potential.








detail images










detail images








detail images










detail images





New year, new things

January 22nd, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Dear all! I disappeared for a bit because I have been working on a new series! I have been on a quest searching for the right medium to express the heartbreaking beauty of a new theme, de-extinction.

Perhaps we all first heard this story of man’s hubris from Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film, “Jurassic Park”, based on a novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Today, the achievability of resurrecting species with modern genomic technology is real. In March 2013, Revive and Restore, an organization dedicated to coordinating genomic technology for conservation, hosted a conference with National Geographic and TedX. Biologists, ethicists and conservationists discussed the moral and logistical reasons for bringing back extinct species by using DNA synthesis in conjunction with authentic DNA information from museum specimens. The prime candidates are recently extinct species and ones that humans have specifically driven to extinction, such as the thylacine or the passenger pigeon. This has inspired a range of visceral reactions, such as adult horror and childlike wonder. Animal resurrection is a unique and contemporary question we are facing- humans, the most intelligent species on earth, have the hard-earned power to make right what we have done wrong, and we are considering it now because in our hearts we can feel regret and honour.

Chinese river dolphin in progress

I will post real pictures  of the series soon, but as you can see I am painting on mirror! Oh mirrors. (… I’m trying to segue into this next thing:) I just received in the mail Simon Lewis’s, Observances, a collection of evocative reflections weaved into romantic sentences by the artist. Please find one below:

“Mirrors: when we hunt reality and hang its skin upon our walls. ” – Simon Lewis


Spix Macaw

August 28th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

When the spix macaw was first discovered in 1819, it was already a rare species. Efforts to track its population began in the late 1980s, but naturalists were only able to find seventeen in captivity and one male in the wild (has not been seen since 2000). Now presumably extinct in the wild, the survival of this beautiful blue macaw depends on the cooperation of captive breeding programmes, like with the excellent Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar.

I first saw the spix macaw in Andrew Zuckerman’s stunning photography book, Birds. The composition of the installation is based on his amazing photograph of one in flight. For an animal so dangerously close to extinction, the lively and detailed photographs are emotive.

On June 26, Navillus Gallery and Spoke Club members helped me make soft blue and iridescent feathers for this installation! Thank-you for coming to the event, to Navillus Gallery for organising and The Spoke Club for hosting and designing a marbled cocktail. Marbling is very enjoyable on an outdoor patio with friends wearing nice clothes and a view of the Toronto sunset!

#DIYKaleidoscopic - Portable studio at The Spoke Club

big bird

I am currently reading about species conservation efforts, and our relationship with this macaw is connected to what I want my next series to be about.

for fun pic of spix on Replicators 2



August 16th, 2012 § 4 comments § permalink

My brother, new sister-in-law, and I made all their wedding invites together! They wanted something unique and fun, so New Sister and I spent three days marbling each sheet of paper with their wedding colours. Meanwhile, my brother, who is a talented designer, created his wedding logo and designed the typography. Afterwards, we exposed his design and silkscreened it on top of the marbled paper.

It was hard work (cheap family labour!), but we were able to make around 280, each as special as their guests! We were pleased with the finish, the colours we used were metallic and the antique gold text was slightly raised.

Unfortunately, Speedy, my dog, sat on a few of them but I won’t tell you which ones have had dog butt on them. If you have some brown flecks on yours, it’s a scratch and sniff!!! Jk!


What’s up?

April 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Hi hello! I wanted to post a little update on what I’ve been up to!

in progress!

I’ve been focusing on doing some research about animarllzzz (“Moral Lives of Animals” by Dale Peterson , “The Marvels of Animal Behaviour” by John Mcloughlin, BBC’s documentaries “Frozen Planet” and “Human Planet” and readings and visits about medieval art). I have also been busy experimenting with gold in combination with oil painting. Above is documentation of my progress, that is the third coat. I am looking forward to the depth and life that will be achieved after many more layers, like this copy I did in the Louvre:

"L'Enlevement de Psyche" by Pierre-Paul Prud'Hon copy from the Louvre

And so I have been busy making paint and mediums for a new body of work with recipes I learned when I studied abroad!

making medium and emulsion

I also participated in Take pART at Arta Gallery in the Distillery District last week and submitted a little oil on wooden panel of a princess parrot, an elusive birdie from Australia named in honour of Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

I’m very excited for the new body of work, stay tuned for details on where they will be showing! Thank-you for taking the time to visit my bloggie. I’ll have more stuff soooooooon!


Soft Squeal

January 30th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Striped hyena cub

gives the sweetest smooches!


Wolf kiss

January 8th, 2012 § 6 comments § permalink

Beautiful arctic wolf. She has really yellow eyes.

two years old



January 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Happy Holidays!

Presents that make little fireworks when opened.

Craft paper, spray adhesive, and glitter! And then ribbons, yarn, or yarn and twine braided for the strings…and then painted on tags and polka dots!

Happy new year everyone!



August 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Carved animals