Journeying into some of the bleakest available locations, including decommissioned psychiatric hospitals and disused prisons, Canadian artist James Picard’s sensitive energies tap into the well of emotional injuries that haunt the corridors of these empty edifices to produce deeply moving and sometimes disturbing work.
Picard next brings his unique live painting and immersive art experience THE DARK & THE WOUNDED to San Francisco Bay’s notorious Alcatraz island on May 5. Exhibition attendees not only experience Picard’s work, but also the setting that inspired the work and are forced to face the darkness and wounds in their own hearts and souls.
Picard notes, “As individuals and as a society, we’re not dealing with the deeper issues. THE DARK & THE WOUNDED is about understanding and healing, and looking at things we’ve been afraid to acknowledge. This is about facing reality, getting past the fear, and finding freedom.
“The paintings in this series are reflective of some of the dark and wounded times in human history as well as from my own life experience, he continues. “I wanted to touch on the fears we have by looking inward. Working on this series has helped me to heal. It is my hope it does the same for you.”
THE DARK & THE WOUNDED has appeared at a number of notable locations since debuting at the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Vancouver in 2012, including the Lincoln Heights Jail and Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, the Rolling Hills Asylum in New York, and Berkeley Church in Toronto. Future locations include Sacramento’s Preston Castle on May 7, France’s WWII destroyed town Oradour-sur-Glane, the Paris Catacombs, the Berlin Bunkers, a Polish concentration camp and others.
Supplementing the incredible locations and artwork, attendees are also immersed into the experience through a musical soundscape created for THE DARK & THE WOUNDED by noted film composer Jeff Danna.
In James Picard: Off the Canvas, a documentary film about the artist, Picard describes how, as a young boy, he often drew on the backs of cupboard doors or under the sheets by flashlight in order to hide his compulsion for creating, as he grew up with little support for his talent. Despite that fact, he knew from a young age that art would be his path. At the age of eighteen, his tenacity and talents drew him to prestigious art schools such as Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art where he began formal studies to develop his raw artistic talent.
When Picard is not painting, he is teaching others how to paint. Whether it is in Vancouver or New York, his talents for teaching painting, drawing, and sculpting are recognized and well respected. He has received many awards and accolades for his work and for his contributions to communities and charities throughout North America. He has been commended for his work with both hospitalized and inner city kids and for starting up the first sculpture class in the province of British Columbia for visually impaired students. Picard is an extraordinarily talented artist with a big heart whose passion enriches our world.