With the long, drawn out heat of late summer upon us, days seems to blur and mingle in their slower pace of relaxation before the inevitable cacophony of Autumn bustle appears. This season for me has brought with it a rejuvenating feeling, and I’m feeling my creative energies ignited and malleable. This flare for new artistic journeys and productivity is my inspiration for my August Picks.
Claire Desjardins’ abstraction in her newest body of work, summerCRUSH, allows space for the viewer to reflect on their own memories and emotions of the Summer season. Juxtaposing feelings of hope and nervousness at a seemingly endless flow of adventure and new potential create butterflies that rise deep from the gut and into fumbling throat, biting at the chance to make grand declarations, to feel invincible.
A brief summer roadtrip to Ontario’s Prince Edward County had me revisiting the varied flora and rural magnetism of the province’s south-eastern region. This attraction to the quilted farmland and dynamic ecosystems makes me recall the respect and admiration Kingston-based artist Lori Richards feels for her surroundings and how she brings that to life in her paintings. Richards uses the viscous texture of acrylics to apply many thin, yet lively, layers of colours and shapes mimicking the verdant fields of milkweed, lobelia, asters, and wild grasses.
Continuing on the theme of roadtrips, Paul Wing’s Polaroid-like shot of a highway blueberry and pie stand shows quintessential iconography of youthful Canadian summers. Ontario fruit growing seasons are so brief, you could blink and miss it entirely, just like this sunny shack on the side of the road.
Normand’s work evokes familiar, yet powerful, imagery and builds on these scenes with vibrant contemporary colour palettes. I find her work both refreshing and humble in their representations of her surroundings in the Laurentians of Quebec. Dominique Normand is a Metis member of the Maliseet First Nations band, and her subject matter ranges from landscapes, portraits, and abstract works reflecting the beauty in her surroundings.
To me, this piece shows the multitude of feelings that exploring a city can evoke. In every sign, brick, doorway and street there are overlapping histories of hundreds of voices, some familiar, some to be never known but that contribute to how we grow individually and collectively nonetheless.