Tracy Horvath;
Lost and Found; Human and Animal Artifacts
 
When you examine works by Tracy Horvath, you may see an image of a sleepy-faced raccoon juxtaposed against an image of a dead squirrel, or assemblages containing rows of snail shells, pigeon feathers; crushed cans, litter and other detritus of the modern age. It may be suggested you touch a smooth round stone, resting in a bed of sand or contemplate unaltered photography of flowers in urban gardens. What you ultimately receive is a meditation on our deep connection to Mother Nature. The art of Tracy Horvath seems to gently decry all who would disregard her.

A mainstay on the Toronto gallery circuit since 1992, Horvath has over 35 exhibitions to her credit.  She is an Executive Member of the Broken Fence Society and the Vice-Chair of the Board of Management for Gallery 1313.  She was the winner of the Toronto Arts Council ArtsWeek photography contest in 2004.

Born in Winnipeg and a longtime resident of the Broadview-Gerrard area of town, Tracy has cultivated her nature-based creativity from adolescence.  As a young person, Tracy was greatly inspired by A.Y. Jackson's oil painting, "Terre Sauvage" (1913) and was moved to begin painting. "I always had an environmental consciousness and later, when I met my partner Glen Guerin he was doing found object works and that opened my mind to new possibilities."

These days, Tracy moves her way through life in spiritual fashion, which she sustains by utilizing the teachings of Native Elders and The Buddha Dharma.  Tracy attests that she has no specific spiritual practice, " Most of the things I've learned in life are personal revelations but I identify with what Aboriginal Elders have said. I feel ancient cultures are more in tune with the Earth, our bodies and other species."

Lessons from the Native path include ideas of interconnectedness between all beings, a state of awareness that she desires to manifest in her artwork.  Tracy creates non-stop. "When you leave behind parts of society in order to make your work, I think it bypasses the idea of any personal motivation to make art".  These ideas echo "Deep Ecology", which suggests it is 'being' rather than intellectualizing, that we need to connect with the creativity of our natural selves.

Horvath began exploring our relationship to our wild urban animal companions many years ago. Each observation was recorded in almost scientific fashion; in photographic form or on videotape, or by making careful notes about individual animals she saw daily. "I would see wounded or dead animals on the streets and feel saddened that they had been left there." in an attempt to draw as much attention to them as would be accorded human victims of our auto-centric lifestyle, she began drawing chalk outlines around them. From there, she would incorporate her images, pieces of animal bodies, bone; feather and perhaps an accompanying photograph of the animal's environment, to contextualize the work.

Her latest presentation "Lost and Found: Human & Animal Artifacts" is a comprehensive multimedia exhibit. In this show, Horvath redefines the word "artifact" to include works made by non-humans. She presents these offerings, such as bird's nests and logs sculpted by beavers as parallels to her human-made works. Layering images from her diverse expression, photography, video, painted images and found objects; Horvath tells the story of our urban animal communities and secrets of the earth.

Horvath says "There is beauty in death, although we may not want to look at it." But rather than embracing morbidity, she feels her work pushes the viewer into an emotional place of wanting to connect with life. When asked if Tracy considers herself a Deep Ecologist, she commented, "I don't know what to call myself other than me. All I know for sure is that I have a deep communication with the universe on many levels and just trying to share that knowledge isn't enough. I feel I need to teach others how to reconnect and find it for themselves".

Gallery 1313 is located at 1313 Queen St. West.  The gallery is open Wednesdays - Sundays from 1-6 pm. The opening reception for Lost and Found: Human & Animal Artifacts will be held Thursday January 26 2006 from 7-10pm.  For more information, call 416-536-6778.