Vancouver painter Jenn Williamson is showing her lanscape and abstract work at the MAC until April 14. (Painting cropped for space) — Submitted by Jenn Williamson

New Mexico retreat marks a change in artist’s abstract work

Parksville exhibit showcases Vancouver painter Jenn Williamson until April 14

A new exhibit at the MAC shows the beginning of a change in abstract artist Jenn Williamson’s highly intuitive work.

The Vancouver-based artist said a recent retreat to New Mexico has helped her to expand her ability to express herself freely in completely abstract work.

An artist known for creating both dreamlike landscapes created without reference, and abstract pieces without a firm grounding in reality, Williamson said her trip to New Mexico in September has had a profound impact.

After attending a seven-day retreat with an abstract painter, Williamson said, “I selected this workshop because I really have always been very moved by abstract painting, and it felt like I was being almost pulled into exploring it further as my art career has developed over the years.”

Wanting to let go of her tendency towards her abstract landscape work (which she had focused on almost exclusively for the last three years), Williamson said, “I really found my mark in just my ability to express myself very freely and intuitively.

“Even using a liner brush to just make marks on a painting, even painting with my hands with gloves on, starting a new painting just with that. I just followed my muse, and I was really excited by what happened.”

Williamson’s exhibit at the MAC (The McMillan Arts Centre at 133 McMillan St.) will give an idea of where her art focus has been and where it’s going.

Made up of newer work from the past couple years (most in acrylic with some in cold wax and oil), the exhibit will feature many paintings from her landscape work — moody skies, soft pastures, marshlands in fog.

But some of the fully abstract pieces in the exhibit will show the influence of her New Mexico workshop.

And there is much more to come from that retreat, she said.

“I have a new body of work that I haven’t shown,” said Williamson. “It’s not part of this show, either. But it is sort of a very whimsical series that began for me in New Mexico and I’m excited to continue exploring over the next while.”

Fine art painting itself was a new direction for Williamson 12 years ago.

A furniture builder with a woodworking studio prior to that, she focused on decorative pieces, finishing furniture with waxes and milk paints. She would also paint and decorate walls for wine cellars and restaurants, but found that fine art painting was the best way to allow herself to concentrate as much as she wanted.

“I loved it,” she said. “It was like I had taken something that I was doing on a large scale, and brought it down to a scale that actually deserved the attention that I give to every single square inch of every painting.

“Prior to that, doing walls and furniture and everything else, I would always spend way too long for what a wall justifies.”

After selling her first painting and generating positive feedback, Williamson said, she’s continued down this path ever since.

“It was like, ‘Oh, wow, here, this is where it’s at for me,’ and I’ve never turned back, and I know I never will.”

Williamson’s exhibit continues at the MAC until April 14.

Send news tips to:

adam.kveton@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

History: The architectural legacy of Sam Little

Designs leave legacy in Qualicum Beach, other Island locales

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

Finalists announced for annual Business Achievement Awards

Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce honours individuals, businesses

Parksville artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint years ago

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read