Wendy Trusler | Eternity Behind, Eternity Before
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About This Project

Eternity Behind, Eternity Before

2006 – ongoing


An ongoing series, currently comprised of 83 small works in either silverpoint or encaustic, and varying installation elements including, objects housed in metal cases or arranged on shelves, magnifying glasses, a table, a chaise lounge and large-scale encaustic on panel paintings.


“I find it good to remember the eternity behind me as well as the eternity before.”

—Henry David Thoreau, 19 March 1842


With so much being disposable in our society, I wonder about the objects we choose to keep and the stories we pass on.


Eternity Behind, Eternity Before takes the form of a catalogue of objects in my home, a record in delicate silverpoint renderings. Heirlooms and ornaments, tools, stones and bones— either emerge or recede into forgetfulness.


This suite of drawings is juxtaposed with small encaustic paintings inspired by a different inventory. Following my son’s fixed gaze in his infancy, I was able to catalogue his earliest favourite things: afternoon light on a wall; wood grain on a blanket box; bed posts; grapevine and power-lines—a play of shadows, colour and light. I felt I was witnessing the very the very beginnings of memory.


At the Art Gallery of Peterborough, setting the work in the stairway of its historic wing led me to consider the stories in that space as it evolved from home to gallery, and inspired me to transcribe them—again in silverpoint— in a chandelier’s cast-shadow and the home’s original wallpaper pattern.


At the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington and at Artspace I suspended the suite of paintings and drawings from the rafters, allowing them to shift with slight air currents, inviting viewers to consider their own relationship with memory.


I am interested in the link, the continuum; what meaning gets passed on between individuals, between generations. And I hope to preserve what may lie at the core of memory/memories.

silverpoint n. 1 a pointed rod of silver (stylus) that when drawn across paper or panel that has been specially coated with white pigment leaves minute particles of the metal embedded in the surface, producing a greyish line that darkens in time as the silver tarnishes. 2 a drawing so made.


Eternity Behind, Eternity Before was supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts


Exhibition History:

Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough, ON, 2007

Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville, ON 2009

Artspace, Peterborough, ON, 2010


Photo Credits:

Sandy Nicholson (AGP), Matt Stimpson and Jean-Micheal Komarnicki (VAC) and Fynn Leitch (Artspace)