Floyd Elzinga

I am primarily inspired by the natural world and frequently use it to reference aspects of agriculture, politics and religion. In my work, I am drawn to highlight, explore and create objects and ideas that embody polar opposites and as a result, a strong dualist theme is present in my work. Currently, I have been exploring the tradition of landscape painting through nontraditional materials and techniques; my recent works focus on broken landscapes and portraits of trees I was initially drawn to steel, due to its malleable, plastic and forgiving nature, and now I also utilize its range of colours and the way light plays off the surface. The process became an integral part of the content; polishing, burnishing, sanding, grinding, rusting and heat treatment are applied to the steel to determine the colour palette, create textures and produce the illusion of depth through the reflection of light. Within the most recent, Broken Landscapes series, the perspectives are severed in a number of obvious ways. In some, the subject matter breaks the frame of the landscape. In others, the panorama is composed of separate panels, and, as a result, there are visual divisions in the picture or story. To further the story of nature’s blight, I highlight trees that expose the deadwood still clinging to the living structure or the noticeable stumps and pruned branches. These literal representations of brokenness are allusions to larger issues. I also create portraits of trees that highlight strength, sometimes in spite of prevailing conditions. What began as a simple and campy reference to works by the Group of Seven spawned a series of pieces emphasizing anthropomorphized trees. They illustrate and capture the essence of forces both gentle and destructive, and through them, embody ideas like tenacity and resilience. As a powerful yet flexible medium, steel lends itself quite naturally to supporting these themes as well as creating organic shapes and colours. My work continues to be strongly influenced by the natural and cultivated environment surrounding my studio on the Niagara Escarpment, and so there exists in each creation a direct reference to my distinctly Canadian perspective.