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Part A: Reflections of “Relationships”

By Jordan Miller on June 11, 2017

 

Photo by Dave Swiecicki

“Relationships” opened at Gallery in the Park on June 1, 2017. My exhibition continues until July 30th.  This is my first solo exhibition in a small town in rural Manitoba and the launch of my 15th year of exhibiting since graduating with a BFA (honours) in Fine Arts.

People have been asking me about how I found out about the gallery and why I decided to show my work outside of Winnipeg in a small town….

Nine years ago I saw the grand opening exhibition thanks to a special invitation my partner and I received as gallery owners in Winnipeg.  I was instantly impressed with how professional this gallery was.  Situated in a historic -refinished home converted into a gallery, I saw it as an absolute gem in rural Manitoba.  The sculpture garden is filled with amazing sculptures and a beautiful fountain. I remember saying to my partner at the time, “this is where professional artists show their work, maybe one day I’ll show my works here.”  Eight years have passed since that day and although I consider myself an emerging artist, I felt that showing in this location was a ‘step up’ from my ’emerging’.

Another reason why one would show at another gallery is to expand an audience or viewership and to also build more experience.  Its one thing to show a lot in Winnipeg, its another thing to show in another town or city.  This is my second exhibition outside of Winnipeg.  I anticipate having more in my future. I do own my own gallery but I am trying to get my works out into the world. I want to be considered a professional artist, not just an arts professional.  Its a real deal, its a big deal.  Some people have said that Altona is too far to go to see an art show–and it makes me sad because its so great!

In 2015 before my most recent and last solo exhibition in Winnipeg, It All Starts With A Line, Jill (a board member) of “Gallery In the Park” approached me via Facebook Messenger to see if I would be interested in applying.  Jill and a friend then attended my exhibition and they continued to encourage me to apply.  November 30th, 2015 I submitted a digital format Professional Portfolio of approximately 20 sold and unsold works from my 2015 exhibition. On December 30, 2015, I received a message that I had been accepted.  I was excited and proud of myself for being confident enough to move forward with my application.

Photo by Doug Friesen

The following day, I found out that my mentor had passed away. In his honour, I decided to paint a piece for him, about our relationship. He used to tell me to paint the light into my work so I began with a soft yellow.  As I painted a sadness fell over me, a sadness for the loss of my greatest influence in my pursuit in beginning of my career in the arts.  It was at that time that my exhibition would be called, “relationships”.  Two weeks later, before finishing my painting, I injured my right wrist which forced me to create in another way.  At first I thought I may have to cancel my exhibition but within a few months I re-invented my style of working.  My love for colour and ‘flow’ came through as the ‘relationship’.  Ironically the last piece I finished was the one about my mentor, which if you see the exhibition, its called “Roots”.

There are other stories in the show that relate to relationships that anyone could skip past without fully analyzing the works.  One of the works, Moving Moments is about my grandma Miller, Rising to Resolve is about a challenging tenant, Late Night Conversations and At Long last we say Goodnight is about my boyfriend, also in some pieces I can see my best friends, my favorite colours, and some of my favourite people.  My favourite art styles and some new styles are also in this exhibition!  Somehow it flows together than any other exhibition I’ve put together. Diverse, but strong?  At least this is how I feel right now.

All works were painted July 2016 to March 2017…with final stitching done in the last week before the installation.

Photo by Dave Swiecicki (its a bit blurry due to my enlarging iphone image)

At the reception I had to give a talk about my art.  I spoke of how my art changed, the different relationships that inspired me (briefly), and the styles I worked in.  I taught myself how to use alcohol inks this year.  I kept my talk very brief mostly because I had been struggling with a low blood sugar as a diabetic.  There is that relationship with my body that not very many people are aware of.

All in all the opening night was great with the most perfect amount of people.  The servers and staff were great, balancing drinks and fancy food on platters. Many of my friends, artists, and clients drove out from Winnipeg and eight or nine of my pieces sold.  I saw a few jaw drops, a few raised eyebrows, a few chuckles, and received a lot of congrats.  Although there is never enough time to speak to everyone at a reception, I am always happy to see a crew of familiar faces, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers.  I always try to work the room and say hi to everyone.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to speak with the locals.  By the way, if you have never been to this gallery, its time for you to check it out. Its stunning!

If you are curious about my works, please make a note of the titles, they will give you clues as to what you are looking at.  There is a story in almost every piece.  Because I won’t be there when you experience it, please make a note of your favs, and let me know what you think.

I am heading to gallery in the park on June 11th, around 12:40 to check it out.  In order for this Blog to be complete, I feel like I need to experience it a few more times with a few more people. So let’s call this part A, and part B will come a little later.  The installation of the show was a long day due to travel and the opening was busy.  I look forward to seeing my show with fresh eyes and a little breathing room.

For those who wish to see me at the gallery, please note I work a full time job at an art gallery in Winnipeg and I don’t own a car.  If you would like to see me, I’m planning on going out again on July 9th, time TBA, with another couple?  I’m also open to joining other friends, as long as I can find a way there…as long as you are ok with driving a long trip to South-Western Manitoba!

Please remember when you read my blog that I don’t consider myself a writer by any means.  I like to tell my story. My art is a story, an emotional journey and I like to be heard and seen, even if I’m not grammatically correct. 🙂 🙂 🙂

With art love–please go see my show!

PS: my incredibly talented boyfriend, Dave Swieckick, put together this awesome video which almost made me cry some happy joyful tears as he captured the emotion behind my show and the feeling of the night… watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gEyA8jkZRo

–Jordan

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