“Renewal,” the October show at the Mad & Noisy Gallery in Creemore, will feature large format oil paintings by Sue Miller and bronze and cast-stone horse sculptures by Ann Clifford. Both artists will be showing new work that highlights an awakening and revival of the spirit – in life and nature, for Miller, and in horses that are given choices, for Clifford.
“The significance behind the theme of this show is the transitional phases of the life cycle which occur in nature and metaphorically in our own personal lives,” says Miller. “What may seem at first glance to be lifeless and barren, is actually a necessary process inherent in the emergence of new life.”
Miller’s paintings evoke an awakening of the spirit, brought about by the connections between the artist, her subject and the audience. “Life and nature can be complicated,” continues Miller, “but amidst the chaos there exists a very simple and powerful order.”
Unlike many other artists, Miller’s oil paintings do not start with a photograph. Rather she lets the canvas ‘speak’ to her at the moment of creation. Starting with a warm underpainting, the images are allowed to emerge through many viscous layers and textures with a palette knife.
Clifford’s passions are horses and youth. She has introduced Empathy Training for horses to challenged youth in downtown Toronto, creating an environment where the animals freely move around the participants. She explains: “Given choices, animals and youth unlock their curiosity and communicate understanding and affection freely.”
“Liberty training of my own two horses, Socrates and Picasso, has allowed me to see the layers of apathy and coping strategies adopted by animals in a confusing human world,” says Clifford. “As I continue to delve deeper into the psyche of horses, through my sculpture and drawings, I’m able to reveal a vital energy that is so joyful and expressive. I love the rawness, passion, bold textures, complexity and strength that I’m able to demonstrate through my work.”
Both artists have been working professionally for many years and are well-known in southern Ontario. A graduate of fine art in the 1980s, Miller has a new studio in the Tremont Building in Collingwood. She also works and shows in Newfoundland, her second home. The daughter of an architect and a textile artist, Clifford studied sculpture in Carrara, Italy. She has active studios in Nobleton and Toronto, and was recently commissioned to create the Eventing Hall of Fame Award. This sculpture is awarded annually to members of two Olympic teams, top horses and trainers.
There will be an opening reception for Sue Miller and Ann Clifford’s Renewal show on Saturday, October 2nd from 2 to 5pm. The show will then continue until Monday, November 1st. The Mad & Noisy Gallery, at 154 Mill St. in Creemore, is open Monday, Thursday and Friday 11am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday noon to 4pm. It is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information contact the gallery at