Working with plant material is an experience that extends even to the sense of

The smells of dried leaves, stems, petals, etc. in their storage boxes hit you with remembered

One can be led astray by the colours and forms of the various plants. It seems that it would be enough
just to photograph this raw material without having toit into some final cognized work
and not theorize that initial spontaneity out of it. And that is one of the frustrations of working with
chlorophyll-based organic matter. It changes quickly and it's pretty well impossible to preserve
this initial kick

The initial kick is often in the gathering, or even the scouting stage, as you size up what looks like to
be a particularly satisfying crop. Recent work has become more sculptural and the black locust
has become a personal favourite. It's a difficult plant to locate in Toronto. Gathering its leaves can be
a painful undertaking and its sharp spikes leave reminders, especially behind the fingernails

(though this task pales to Wolfgang Laib's gathering of tiny pollen for his large floor pieces - now that's
discipline). These particular stems looks especially beautiful drying in string-tied bundles (three pieces in
this show are black locust-based)

Spontaneity and accident (intuition) are both important aspects of my work procedure. Though I know
and like some of the work of certain well-known contemporaries the jolt of recognition and spiritual
affinity I feel most with is the non-leaf work of Martin Puryear, a wood sculptor. What I feel drawn to
in his work is the poetry and the mysterious allusions. This to me is what leaf work should be, not just
something that "illustrates" the passage of time, colour, or some other natural process. And that is a danger
one can easily fall into because the innate beauty of the materials one works with can make youand
you could go on creating perfectly aesthetic constructions that have no poetic or transcendent resonance

This lack of poetry, and the supremacy of good design, has led someone like Richard Long to call certain
of his successful contemporaries "second generation decorators". I can attest that this can
indeed become a working hazard

Environmental messaging is of little or no interest to me and in that sense it's a misnomer to call this work
environmental (at least in the sociopolitical sense). Plant material happens to be what I'm working with and

I have no arguments about technology, pollution, the truth of nature (at least as far as the art is concerned)

I'm not even interested in the time aspect of the plant material, even though that is part of working
with plant matter. I like working with plant matter, I like its fragility, its impermanence

Ideally, what I would like to accomplish is toit so that it isn't like plant matter in its
original form (and meaning) anymore but a new "ground" for contemplation, detachment and
elegant thought

Ted Karkut 

Artist's Statement . Propeller 2007
66 cm x 50 cm
leaves, charcoal, prismacolor, acrylic on paper
Because It's There
112 cm x 66 cm
cherry leaves on gessoed paper
170 cm x 40 cm approx

clay, black locust stems, acrylic
Shadow Piece
dimensions variable
clay, maple leaves
Sectio Aurea
61 cm x 45 cm
petals helianthus divaricatus, pencil, acrylic
|Sectio Aurea (side view)
61 cm x 45 cm
petals helianthus divaricatus, pencil, acrylic
58 cm x 51 cm
acrylic, maple leaves on board
|Leaf Piece
40 cm x 44.5 cm each
ginkgo, maple stems, thread
(coll. Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University)
willow leaves on paper frame
Helen's Exile
76 cm x 83 cm
oil on canvas, leaves
Always Known in the Mind
44 cm x 42 cm
charcoal, ballpoint pen on paper
Midnight by the Well and Sky 1
106 cm x 93 cm
charcoal, ballpoint pen on paper
|Midnight by the Well and Sky 2
111 cm x 93 cm
charcoal, ballpoint pen on paper
19 cm x 16 cm
charcoal, ballpoint pen on paper
|Japanese Rain
90 cm x 50 cm
ballpoint pen, charcoal on paper
Meta Blue
50 cm x 40 cm
colour photographs, folded exposed photo paper
|High Park Early Snow
49 cm x 19 cm
b&w photographs, coloured pencil
Windy Day Mandala
106 cm x 93 cm
maple leaves, laserprints of colour photograph
105 degrees W 18 degrees N
70 cm x 50 cm
charcoal, acrylic, ballpoint pen, flamboyant tree pod
Sumer Is Icumen In
76 cm x 101 cm
coloured pencil, gesso, acrylic
**8 Haiku, Gallery 50, November 2015**
Wind Scatter Piece
dimensions variable
sumac leaves, clay, light
Japanese Rain
70 cm x 92 cm
ballpoint pen, charcoal on paper
Hill 1
91 cm x 76 cm
colour pencil, pencil on gessoed panel
No Trace Remains
86 cm x 75 cm
ballpoint pen on paper
From The Green Hill
62 cm x 77 cm
acrylic, pencil, willow leaves on paper
Tatami Detail
91 cm x 122 cm
pencil, acrylic,
willow leaves on wood panel
| 2015
Not A Leaf Stirs
122 cm x 153 cm
acrylic, pencil, willow leaves on wood panel
Sunshine Recorder
122 cm x 153 cm
acrylic, woodland sunflower petals on wood panel

Ted Karkut in front of "Kailas"
willow leaves, acrylic,
clay on wall
Gallery 50, October 2017
indianyellow1 (view from above)
91 cm x 122 cm
acrylic, black locust stems, clay on wood panel
Rhus 2
50 cm x 27 cm
digital print on Fuji matte paper
Rhus 1
22 cm x 33 cm
digital print on Fuji matte paper
|Rhus 4
20 cm x 30 cm
digital print on Fuji matte paper
48 cm x 55 cm
acrylic, oils, willow leaves, clay, wood mouldings on wood panel
143 cm x 85 cm x 45cm approx

sumach trunk, sumach stems, acrylic, oil
| 2021
Sumach Bushes, Early Autumn
106 cm x 121 cm
trimmed sumach leaves, acrylic
Spencer Room, University of Western Ontario, London 1979
Hamilton Artist's Co-op, Hamilton 1979
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto 1980
The Funnel, Toronto 1983
Wormwood's Monkey Dog Cinema Photo Gallery, Halifax 1984
Zacks Gallery, York University, Toronto (group) 1984
Alternative Grounds, Toronto 1998
Broken Fence Society, Polson Pier Gallery, Toronto (group) 1999
Academy of Spherical Arts, Toronto 1999
Ashton/Evicta Gallery, Toronto (three man) 2000
Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville (group) 2000
Broken Fence Society, Acadia Gallery, Toronto (group) 2001
Stage Gallery, New York (group) 2001
Thames Art Gallery, Chatham (group) 2001
Broken Fence Society, Acadia Gallery, Toronto (group) 2002
Festival of Flight, Ridgetown, Ontario (group) 2002
Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Grimsby (group - jurors first prize) 2002
Studio Below, Toronto (group) 2002
Vision: Earthworks, Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Grimsby (fundraising) 2003
Broken Fence Society, Broken Fence Gallery, Toronto (group) 2003
Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, Toronto (group) 2003
Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Grimsby (group) 2004
Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, Toronto (group) 2004
Academy of Spherical Arts, Toronto 2005
Grimsby Art Gallery, Grimsby (fundraising) 2005
Eco Art and Media, York University, Toronto (group/purchase award) 2005
Faculty of Environmental Arts, York University, Toronto (group) 2005
Drawing 2006, John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto (group) 2006
City Hall Library, Toronto Public Library, Toronto 2006
Oakwood Arts Centre, Toronto 2006
In Flight, Destination West Gallery, Toronto Pearson International Airport (group) 2007
Urban Gleaning (with Fran Freeman and Stan Krzyzanowski), Propeller Centre, Toronto 2007
Nature Scopes, National Museum, Gongju, South Korea (group) 2007
Nature Scopes, Gallery Space Beam, Incheon, South Korea (group) 2007

Nature Scopes, Gallery Art Space C, Cheju Island, South Korea (group) 2007
Environs, Scarborough Arts Council, Toronto (group) 2008
RENGA: Japanese Influences, Global Practices, Living Arts Centre, Mississauga
(group) 2010
Whirlygigs, you me gallery, Hamilton (group) 2011
Eight Haiku, Gallery 50, Toronto 2015
EcoHouse, Hamilton 2016
Eco Art, Gallery 1313, Toronto (group) 2017
indianyellow, Gallery 50, Toronto 2017
The Fifty Show, Gallery 50, Toronto (group) 2018
Juried Exhibition, Grimsby Art Gallery, Grimsby (group- jurors' first prize) 2018
Toronto Botanical Garden, Toronto, April-June 2019
Whirlygigs, you me Gallery, Hamilton (group) 2020
Florals 2021 (online only), Aird Gallery, Toronto (group) 2021
Textile Show, Gerrard Art Space, Toronto (group) 2022
Carmichael Canadian Landscape, Orillia Art Museum, Orillia (group) 2022-23
** **
Plant materials, clay, paper, acrylic, charcoal, ballpoint pen, photographic paper, pencil, light
For more information on the artist, email [email protected]