Perfect Geometry features a collection of six oil paintings on wood by Vancouver artist, Laurie Papou. Three of the one-and-a-half-metre-square works depict cross sections of trees felled in Stanly Park by a devastating 2006 windstorm alongside three that depict the irises of each of one of the eyes of the artist and her family. In the formal relationship between the cross section of each log and the circular nature of the irises there is something here to the cycle of life in that two parents’ eyes beget the one of the child, and the rings of the tree which mark time.
The the shape, form and colour of an iris is as unique to every individual as the rings of a tree are particular to one tree alone. In their uniqueness, the iris and the rings are perfect. In describing the forms of eyes and cross-sections of trees on a square support, Papou also explicitly refers to the circle and square in geometry and in the history of art. The former shape represents the divine and the latter, humankind. In combination, they draw connection between the infinite and the earthly.
In the sculptural work Salvage, presented alongside the six paintings, five almost three-metre-tall sculptures comprised of clear vinyl tubes stuffed with shredded paper are suspended from the ceiling. They appear as a small forest with the recycled paper materials of their manufacture returned back into the shapes of trees.
Of this exhibition Papou wrtites: “The forest is an environment that perfectly defines and describes the endless pattern of the cycle of life. It’s flora and fauna display countless variations that form to create natural mandalas. In Perfect Geometry, circles and squares combine to make paintings that orbit the sculpture Salvage, and symbolize the perfect symmetry found in nature. Salvage is the axis fabricated to suggest nature’s cyclical pattern of life and death, destruction and renewal. These qualities mirror the complexities of the “creative process”, as success and failure coexist despite uncertain results. Art, nature and creativity exist and relate in endless combinations each linked in unique relationships. Each combination is a compass that directs and redirects our efforts to sustain and control the natural world and ultimately define our place in it.”
Laurie Papou grew up in Port Coquitlam and her work was included in the 1984 exhibition PoCoRococo that was organized by Ken Lum and which featured the work of art students from Port Coquitlam Secondary alongside such prominent established West Coast artists including Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham, Elspeth Pratt and Georgina Chappel among others. Laurie Papou has since become most well known for her paintings on wood panels of nude figures set in the landscape of the Canadian West Coast. Papou has exhibited extensively in Vancouver and across Canada.