George Bush's statement was a promise not to raise taxes. Did he?

Clichés to Live By

I’m thrilled to announce that an exhibition of neon art I’ve created will open on July 8 at The Winsor Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Winsor Gallery features cutting edge contemporary art, and I’m honoured to be exhibiting there, where artists of the calibre of Alexander Calder, Attila Richard Lukacs, Patrick Hughes, Angela Grossman and Fiona Ackerman have been shown.

This exhibition gives me special pleasure: the invitation to exhibit came as the result of two garden visits.

The first visit happened several years ago when I went to Broadwoodside, a garden near Edinburgh that remains one of my favourites. Cut into a plaster wall was a Biblical phrase, The Writing is on the Wall. As soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to create a version of the sign.

A few months later, I made my version in neon as a gift for my husband, a career journalist whose writing has appeared around the world.


To get the full story on this quotation and why it seemed like a perfect gift for my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary, you can read this post.
To get the full story on this quotation and why it seemed like a perfect gift for my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary, you can read this post .


The second garden visit came last summer, following our first Open Garden Day. (The second Open Garden Day takes place on Saturday, July 29. It’s a fund-raiser for our local community foundation and its conservation trust.  You can register to attend on the foundation’s website.)

One of the people attending that first Open Garden Day was Jennifer Winsor, owner of Vancouver’s Winsor Gallery. She saw the sign and liked it, telephoned a few days later and invited me to exhibit at her gallery.

It didn’t take me long to say yes. The prospect was exciting. It was challenging. (And I like a challenge.) It pushed me to think about what I’d like to say to a wider public, and why.

Early in the process of preparing for the exhibition, I knew that I would call the show Clichés to Live By. The title summed up an attitude I hold about today’s political discourse — that ideas of merit too often become debased by being overly simplified.  


George Bush's statement was a promise not to raise taxes. Did he?
George Bush’s statement was a promise not to raise taxes. Did this phrase trivialize a significant issue?


The exhibition includes seven pieces, six wall signs and a desk top piece, all with political overtones. One is a new version of The Writing is on the Wall, others are phrases that most people who follow politics, in Canada or elsewhere, will recognize.


Pierre Trudeau's words could be a feminist statement as well as a political one.
Removed from their original context, Pierre Trudeau’s words can be read as a challenge, a feminist call to arms, or a child’s call for attention.


Clichés to Live By runs from July 9 to August 9 in conjunction with The Flats Block Party. You can find out more about the exhibition here.

There’s an opening reception on July 8 from 2-4. So if you are in Vancouver, please drop in for a visit and a chat.

The Winsor Gallery is located at 258 E 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC. For information about the pieces, contact the gallery on line or at (604) 681-4870.



  • Won’t this be fun!

    • siteandinsight

      I sure hope so!

  • Anne Wareham

    Exciting!!! You brilliant person. XXXXXX

    • siteandinsight

      Brilliance shines from every pore. Thanks, Anne.

      • annewareham

        I know it does. Hope it goes as well as it should. Xxx

  • Janet Davis

    Congrats. ‘Pushing the Envelope’…. ! (Really, you are, but it sounds like it should be in neon.)

    • siteandinsight

      Pushing the Envelope — it may go up in lights one of these days. Along with Eat Your Cake — that one might be tasty.

  • Jean Potuchek

    I wish I were going to be in Vancouver; the exhibit sounds wonderful! Congratulations!

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks, Jean.The opening was a success and the installation looked good. I am very pleased.

  • Jason

    Congratulations – wish we could see it. Now whenever I hear a cliche I will think of neon.

    • siteandinsight

      You may find yourself thinking of neon more often than you’d like.

  • Judy

    We missed you at the Fling, but I can see that you were busy! I wish we could be in Vancouver. How exciting and intriguing!

    • siteandinsight

      Wish I could have made it to the Fling — it looked like fun.

  • Marianne Ackerman

    Pat! congratulations. Unfortunately I won’t be in Vancouver during the show but for sure will draw it to Fiona’s attantion!! keep me posted on future exhibitions! Marianne

    • siteandinsight

      Thanks for your note, Marianne. I’m very pleased with the show and hope Fiona will be able to see it.