Jay Dart -- Wanderer of Yawnder (Revisited)

September 20, 2014 to October 24, 2014

website: www.thedart.ca
representation: Galerie Youn

Exhibition Statement

For the past few years, I have been working on a series of drawings about the wanderers of fictional places known as Yawnder and Elsewheres as a way to represent my own creative process. Each drawing that I produce in this series adds to an evolving narrative about the mystical nature of inspiration, the search for innovative creation, and the dissemination of ideas. I am interested in drawing allegories for these themes as well as for the challenges and opportunities that new technology, such as cloud computing, social networking, and the global community of the internet, presents to contemporary creators.

Antique portraits of fishers, hunters, loggers and those making their way on the frontiers give rise to many of my pieces. However, as the subjects of my compositions wander through the horizonless expanse of the blank page, they encounter a whimsical wilderness complete with Foredad clouds, Magical Mystery Beards, and Geist Trees. The term geist, defined as the spirit of an individual, is used to describe the colourful swashes in my drawings because they are the spirit of an individual’s ideas.

Jiggs, my alter ego and the main character of this evolving narrative, finds a source of geists in the lights in the sky over Yawnder. These lights are a source of inspiration not only for Jiggs, but for all those who wander over Yawnder. When he procures a geist, by building himself a very tall ladder in order to fish them out of the sky, Jiggs proclaims his first invention: the Magical Mystery Beard. Soon enough, other wanderers happen upon this source of inspiration and he finds out his invention wasn’t so inventive after all. So he must dig deeper to create something truly unique.

In the early stages of this series, I recognized that there was a substantial story that I wanted to tell. Each drawing contributed a small part to a larger narrative that I employed to represent my own exploits as a visual artist as well as connect with the universal experiences of all creators. My first picture book, Wanderer of Yawnder, published in 2013, recounts the first part of this story. The drawings that accompany Jiggs’ text in the book are remakes of the original pieces that I had previously exhibited and sold.

But there is a lot more to the story and I continue to exhibit drawings that impart the next chapter of the story where I attempt to elucidate another stage of the creative process: communication. While I see the experience of inspiration as a private process when the internal digestion of external influences takes place and new ideas take shape, the practice of communicating these ideas involves making those ideas tangible and sharing them with others. Thus, the Wanderer story has begun to involve a new cast of characters who discover Jiggs’ creations and play a part in disseminating them.

Artist Biography

Born in Toronto, Jay graduated from the Fine Art programme at the University of Guelph and currently resides just outside the sprawl of Toronto. His whimsical graphite and watercolour drawings have been exhibited within Canada in Toronto, Montreal, Whitby and Canmore, and internationally in Amsterdam and Portland, Oregon. In 2013, Jay released his first picture book, Wanderer of Yawnder. The book features his artwork, with themes and scenes reimagined from his Wanderer series of drawings, and words by Jiggs (his alter ego). Upcoming, his second solo exhibition at Galerie Youn in Montreal will take place in early 2015 while a major public art museum show has been confirmed for 2016 at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. He is represented by Galerie Youn in Montreal.

Exhibition Images
Line Gallery

Interview with Jay Dart