Sunday, January 12, 2014






in St. Catharines, Ontario

December 2013 - February 2014

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth:

they are a trouble unto me, I am weary to bear them.

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you;

yea, when ye make prayers, I will not hear: Your hands are full with blood.”

from The Book of the Prophet Isaiah

No; I only eat food.”

my nephew (age 3) on eating Christmas turkey

Artist's Statement

You know how I respect and regard vegans! I'll tell you a dream I had. It was your basic zombie movie and I was the protagonist, like the sort of one you'd find in World War Z or, more mercifully, Pontypool, a kind of man (or woman, as the case may be in a dream) thrust to the forefront of an epidemic, only, in my dream, the zombies were all gourmets – which was, one would think, weird. Gourmets seemed the special point of the plot. Yes, the vegan zombies were the best, for obvious reasons: they would collect hair and nail clippings and make, I don't know, a toe-jam goulash . . . most people I met, though, were 'ethical', meaning just that they would merely take a non-life-essential limb or organ and let you get by. These 'ethicists' survived mostly on a black market of appendices and tonsils if they were rich, an arm or a leg or a finger if they were poor . . . the carnists though, they were a different story. They'd set up a spit and roast you alive for twelve hours and that would be the end of you. Fat fizzing on the fire to satiate their bacchanalian enjoyment of appetite for appetite's sake. Almost—almost—like the ancient practice of sacrifice. Yeah . . . so, I had this dream as I slept, after I was thinking of this show, here, at Rise Above, for a few days—a few weeks ago now. I even thought up a good title if I ever decide to write the screenplay: Goremet.

To feast is too bogged down in the Bacchanalian, or the Bahktinian, if you like . . . whereas meat eating has more to do with having foodstuff that can move of its own accord (with a little coaxing), which is, you could say, of little relevance now, now that mass exodus is no longer an expected part of Canadian life;—whereas meat eating is too survive without proper food, which is strange in a time wherein horticulture is a perfect science, a real art. So, 'to feast': co-opted by the quintessential 'invading army' (that great American calling). . . an army's food (so you'd best like it), an army's market. It seems—I see clearly perhaps that veganism is another promise of peace . . . it is believable.

Johnny is the better fisherman of the two of us pictured in “Infrastructure,” which is a painting of a Dam near Biscotasing. I remember, I had had this romantic ideal to eat a fish I had caught myself upon deciding to accept John's invitation to accompany him on one of his Northern excursions. Ah, Northern Ontario! It would be the best fish I ever ate: for ethical reasons, you see. Oh, I caught the fish . . . took it back to the cabin, took a picture of me and it. John, though, said, “So, you want me to kill one of my friends?” In an insane act of pedagogy he filleted the fish while it was alive and flapping, presumably to put into my heart the hurt I was doing to the world and to it by wishing to taste something, I don't know what (je ne sais quoi, I think it's called). That's John's boat and gas-can in “Esker”, a place he told me about where you could find the holes in gourd sized black rocks made by diamonds as they twist their oyster like singularity into all time. “Dr. Dahlah”, as John liked to be called, remains to me a man with 'impeccable judgement'.

. . . really, here, I have to say thanks to Kasia for suggesting this show to me and to her friends, Brian and Kelsy of Rise Above for their better than merely ethical business ideal. The food here is delicious, is it not? Living things that don't mind not minding, eh?

So long as this restaurant is a good place to eat I will be heartened. Nobody says we are at peace, anyone who does probably . . . well, we find peace where we can . . .

Jesse Lepp


The Show:

One Dozen Roses
$400.00 / oil on canvas / unframed
The Copse, Southern Ont.
1000 (framed)
Tiger Lilies
400 (acrylic on styrofoam, framed)
Eskar, Bisco., Ont.
The Dreamers
1500 (framed)
Bacchus's Theft of the Stars over Toronto
The Soul, The Vine
Infrastructure, Bisco., Ont.
Probability of Winter, NOTL, Ont.
Irrigation, NOTL, Ont.
450 (framed)


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