For reasons I cannot begin to understand certain of my paintings stay front of mind for a very long time. Others don’t live with me for nearly so long. Terminal Beef is a painting I made back in 1998. Although it is a picture I have not exhibited, Terminal Beef is one that still resonates with me. I wish I could more easily identify what makes this particular piece sticky for me. I suppose in part it is because it is an orphan, an oddball in the greater body of my paintings. It’s awkward and the imagery evokes certain personal connections for me that make me laugh. The title of this painting comes from a sign in the old Stockyards in Toronto’s west end. Most of those stockyard buildings have been replaced with box stores and the like. I’m not sure if the sign is still standing, or even exactly where it was. I’m happy though, this painting has a good home.
I was thinking about Terminal Beef today and I was trying to recall what other paintings I was doing at the same time and how they might have been related to this one. I usually work on more than one painting at a time, and sometimes several at once, and often paintings share certain visual ideas. The one painting I can think of that was made around the same time is a quite large two-panel job called The Source.
The two don’t look much alike. I think they are related some though in that I used spray enamel in each of them, and the process or approach to both was similar. The Source was exhibited in an exhibition called Canadian Shield along with a suite of small paintings. I remember this very well because I was really excited about exhibiting this painting, but it turned out many people really liked the small paintings but few had any time for The Source (and some people even took the trouble to share some criticism of this one). Fortunately, I have thick skin. I’ve kept this big diptych in storage. As with Terminal Beef this painting is still very satisfying to me. Maybe one day I’ll exhibit it again. It would be interesting to see if after a couple decades it gets a more positive response.