Current Connections Exhibition - The Mentor Experience - The Art Process.
The role of the mentor and the mentee: resulting in a long lasting friendship.
I am excited to launch this exhibition "Current Connections" with one of my closest artist friends, Sari Habiluk September 22 to October 4, 2022. What started as a new mentorship opportunity with a mentee under my wing at cre8ery in 2015, quickly blossomed into a long lasting artist friendship as she became one of my closet connections in the local art scene. She volunteered her time at the gallery in exchange for mentorship and learned about gallery operations and the artist-gallery relationship as there are many dos and not dos in our industry.
When you are a mentor, it can be a mutually beneficial relationship where the mentor passes on valuable skills and insights and knowledge while a mirrored relationship occurs where the mentee passes insights back as new shared knowledge between the two individuals. Sari became someone I bounced ideas off of and in turn she inspired some changes in my art practice, through many conversations. In the last three years I've really dropped some of the heaviness in my work and created more free flowing art that puts my mind at ease.
From my perspective, one of the biggest lessons I taught Sari was to look deep inside to paint her emotions to create the work, not just show she could replicate an object or a scene which became fairly static. She told me early on that she was tired of painting each blade of grass. To some, this is a challenge they love, however, I could tell she needed some change and to explore a different avenue so I encouraged her to explore abstract art.
Art can be used in beautiful ways as a therapeutic release. She spent an afternoon watching me paint in my studio and shortly after she made the change to abstract on a more intuitive level as well. I saw her grow as an artist from painting still - objects to painting with meaning. I watched her confidence grow as she dived into performing at open mics and playing with bands and being featured as a performer in music videos. She made a lot of really great connections with people she didn't know prior to her time at cre8ery.
Sari and I collaborated on works together. She has a beautiful way of blending colours together to build definition of line. She has the fine touch and control I would never have patience for. All of the collaborations with Sari are acrylic. Our first collaborations were in 2016 and they have both sold. In 2019 we planned on doing many collaborations together; however, the pandemic and many other life changes happened restricting us from our initial plan. One of the pieces we painted in my back yard and Sari took the work home to detail it. I believe we learned this year that its best that I begin the pieces and she finishes them. I use more storytelling in my abstract work than Sari and so this seemed to be much harder for me to 'detail' her works. Her works are much more fluidly - defined. You'll understand this more when you see the exhibition. (This piece, also used on our invitation, was started by me and finished by Sari. The detail is incredible!)
Now on to my work. A few years ago I created a blog to say my art was changing...that I was moving on to a new direction. That transition really begun in 2019.
If the last show you saw featuring my work was in 2018 at cre8ery, you are in for a big change stylistically. Three exhibitions have taken place since then and one pop up shop. Each was a different presentation of my work. In this show, all of my solo pieces are very detailed with intense mark making, created with alcohol ink and acrylic ink on yupo, mounted on panel.
On my side of the gallery - there are three themes that are connected: the galaxy/universe and nature, the flowers and our bees (our insect world-where have all the bees gone?), and my connection to Sari and storytelling through artwork. Since 2019, I have felt a strong pull to nature and the universe that surrounds us. Coincidentally, this is around the time I decided to make many life changes for the greater good of myself and those I am associated with. Some were definite mistakes on my part while others were a relief!
In terms of the universe, I am not a religious person and I do not believe in God, however, it is perfectly acceptable others follow a religion. I believe there is a spiritual connection to the world that we live in. Something larger than our universe that helps to maintain this land we live in. Its a form of natural engineering of our ecosystem. Fires are naturally occurring and they destroy our landscape. I see fire as a virus of the ecosystem.
As humans, we are destroying it with pollution, removing forests and plant species that clean our air and bees who pollenate our flowers, for example. The world that surrounds us cannot keep up to this level of destruction which is why animals and insects have become extinct and our water levels are rising taking over our land. Climate change is always on my mind but it would take the entire universe worth of people to make change. When you see the exhibition you'll see the distortion of the images through dots that make up the whole. Its a way of abstracting my work further than the basic ink application. I like to take my art a step beyond that.
With the pandemic starting in the spring of 2020, we saw that most worked together, protecting one and another by staying home, those who worked in the medical world were seen as heros. And the vulnerable were protected by masks, distancing, and staying home when sick. The world slowed down to a new pace, the water in the canals in Venice were rumored to be clear and pollution levels dropped. Now all of that feels like a distant memory. Some people stopped protecting each other. The two seem to parallel each other.
Many people do not respect the earth. Recently my partner and I went on a walk in Pinawa. I was shocked at the amount of garbage in the forest as we were on our hike. As a child growing up we hiked all summer long from Manitoba through to BC, I never experienced garbage like I did recently. No wonder our animals are sick. If you live in the centre of the city you see garbage against the concrete and it doesn't affect you the same as seeing it in the forest. It stands out much more against our natural brilliant green landscape and bright blue skies. These issues in our world are known and I often wonder what we will do to keep our planet healthy. What we are doing now is not sustainable.
These things have all been on my mind. These concepts were more loosely featured for my 2020 exhibition at Fleet Galleries, "Stars, Roots, Whispers and Winds". Each repetitive dot placed is a dot for a thought. I do my deepest thinking and problem solving when I work on these pieces. Conversations fill my mind and my imagination. Art making can be a lonely and a quiet endeavor; therefore, I spend a lot of time listening to people talk online about what is going on around us which helps me stay connected to current world issues. I understand more about politics in Canada before then ever before. Perhaps that is a good thing.
On September 22 at 11 am at 125 Adelaide Street at cre8ery gallery, our exhibition comes to life. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday- Saturday 11am to 5pm. I will be available during all gallery hours as well as every morning, afternoon and evening. Please text me 204-510-1623 or respond to this email to make an appointment for after hours otherwise you are welcome to stop by during any hours. Please don't forget your mask as I'm at-risk for covid and need to continue being safe. There will be no reception, however, this gives us more time to visit!
I invite you to check out the cre8ery website link here for our full bios and our short exhibition statement and samples of our works-which is very different than this blog! Current Connections, Jordan + Sari | cre8ery I hope to see you at the show and if not, please check out my studio or shop on my website. All work looks best in person. Online doesn't do it any justice!
Please note I am not a perfectly skilled writer but I do enjoy explaining my work in this blog so please excuse any grammatical errors you may see. Thank you for your support, please feel free to leave a comment.