"There are no universal landscapes" said George Woodcock in 1977 . He suggests landscape painting is the least likely genre of art to submit to a homogenized international view . What is place in an artist's reaction to the landscape is dependent on their experience of it . Experience includes the cultural as well as the physical -- the symbolic as well as the sensory .
In 1942 at the age of two, Rod Prouse moved to Canada from England . He entered a country in the last throes of a Group of Seven dominated vision of ourselves -- regionalist and wilderness ridden and uncommonly empty of humanity . In 1972 Prouse moved to Nova Scotia to an environment dominated by the ocean . There he painted and exhibited maritime inspired work . Returning to toronto in 1997 , Prouse abruptly abandoned painting to respond more quickly, more succinctly, with line and shape to create a more "direct and immediate transfer of a moment within a scene." Within this new shorthand he was more able to isolate his essential response from the clutter of experience .
In Belize/Georgian Bay, what links these two places ? Water . Water is the connective force and the great symbolic content of these works . "Within water we are all the same, we are equal" says Prouse . Immediate and powerful, these images of land, swimmers, sky, palms and white pines, sand and Cambrian rock have water at their soul .
Working with drawing tools as unlikely as routers, skill saws and grinders, Rod Prouse creates intact universes embedded in line and shape . His assemblages resemble the garish quality of pet store fish tanks-- enclosed and interrelated . The woodcuts are done directly from his sketchbook . Unfettered and direct, these unions of wood and paper respond to the "moment within a scene" -- they bring us to his sketchbook and his experience . Within the work of Prouse we sense the scraping of surface to reveal places of energy and places of life.
William Moore, Director/Curator, MacLaren Art Centre, 1993
Catalogue:MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario, 1993-4 'Rod Prouse, 1993 Block Prints and Painted Wood Assembledges'