Relics Of Prester John, 2012

This series of twenty 10 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch mixed-media drawings on watercolour paper resemble pages from an old book. I drew deliberately obscure illustrations that resemble bookplates with captions. In turn, these small works are surrounded by typical accidental marginalia: smudges, notes, sticky things etc. that accumulate in most books that have regularly been read and studied through many years.

Because I had recently re-read the John Buchan novel, Prester John, I began thinking about how art is a relic of an artist's life. I compared this to most other relics, which are usually false. Prester John, the king of a lost Christian country, was created as a joke by an Italian traveler in the Middle East during the twelfth century. Until about the late seventeenth century, it was assumed the kingdom was a real place, and not a relic of someone's imagination.

The title of each drawing tells a different story, one that could nevertheless reflect actual events. Written in Italian, they are quotes from a possible conversation between elderly friends who were once lovers. These reconciled friends discuss their youthful ambitions and mistakes and the misunderstandings that caused the rift between them.

I exhibited this series at Deluge Contemporary Art in Victoria in 2010 before deciding to continue working on them. I exhibited them again in Gallery 2 in Grand Forks, BC in the summer of 2014. Two of the drawings are in public collections, and several are owned privately.