FINDING JOY - ART EXHIBIT
January & February 2020
Princess Twin Theatre, Waterloo
FINDING joy is an exhibit about the ongoing search for the joy that is hidden in plain sight.
Come and explore Jen’s multi-dimensional artwork and see what surprise you might discover for yourself!
Friday, January 10, 2020
Please stop by!
Enjoy smarties, beer nuts & drinks.
This gallery contains a collection of a few of my art pieces. Most of the materials are hand-cut beer cans, as well as various other reclaimed treasures found around my house or travels in the neighbourhood.
The process of how each piece comes together is always a mystery to me and participating in its creation offers many insights about myself and life in general by the time it is complete.
BE LIKE THE LOTUS
This piece was created on an old door I found when we moved into our current house. It's made entirely of hand-cut beer cans (and a few energy drinks). It reminds me of what can grow out of the mucky, murky moments in our lives. I came across a greeting card once that I never sent because I loved the saying so much:
Be like the lotus growing in the mud
learn patience from the impatient,
tolerance from the intolerant,
and silence from the talkative.
This is a transition piece. In my earlier years, I worked with magazine paper to create collages. This work began as a painting and I didn't like the result, so I began pasting magazine clippings over top and then embellished it with various other materials I found around the house. The words I clipped from a sport shoe ad resonated with me and seem fitting for this work, and my experience in this life:
what comes from the mouth: Beauty is truth. Truth is beauty. Come live the truth.
what comes from the heart: Be beautiful.
This piece was inspired by another work of art... which was printed on a can of ice tea. I spotted it across the street, littering the bus stop. When I crossed over to investigate, this beautiful can was still half full of its sticky contents, which I quickly dumped and ran home to wash it out and start cutting. A few days later I found the hexagon board sitting out for garbage pick up and I could hardly believe my luck as I carried it home. Within hours, I had arranged all the pieces fanning out around this bird head from the can. But it wasn't finished. This bird was reaching out, mouth open to receive, looking for contact. To be greeted, nourished, kissed by another.
It seems fitting to me that as I sat looking around my studio, pondering what this bird might want, a painted wooden hummingbird from another project caught my eye. A companion.... so similar, but not. Different enough that some might reject it, yet so complimentary that I immediately yanked that carved hummingbird from it's perch and introduced these two soulmates.
They have so much in common, and yet so much to learn from the other.
To always remember this paradox is the key to a lifetime of loving relationships.
For several years, I could occupy my young son by drawing a big scribble on blank paper and then we would work together filling in all the spaces with different colours and designs. One day, I drew a drew a car shape scribble and I loved the resulting fun, hippie design and hung our finished picture on the fridge.
Years later, as I was walking the dog, I stumbled on a coffee table that looked like it had seen many kid’s craft projects. Something about the look of the well-loved surface was enchanting and I brought it home with me. Once I got it into my studio, I realized that it was perfect to replicate that love-bug car scribble and the design just took off from there. In this piece, I work more directly with the images found on cans, rather than simply the colours.
This vintage blue door had my name on it. In fact, my neighbour texted me one afternoon to ask if I saw the door in someone’s garbage down the street. It looks like something you would use for art!” she said. And, I had seen it but passed by telling myself that I had enough unfinished projects laying around the house. Well, I obviously couldn’t resist. The earring near the top right was laying on the ground near my bike after yoga one day. What a lovely silver circle! I knew it would find a place on this door.
This is also the piece when I discovered that I could use hole punches to make perfect circles with the cans I’d been using. It opened a whole new world! Here, I explore the subtly of transition, change, and difference. I see this demonstrated on many levels in this piece. For example, when we experience changes in our lives, if we pay close attention, they come in increments – from big circles in dark colours at the bottom, through smaller circles that gradually lighten as we transition toward the top.
When looking at the piece from side to side, you can observe that although there are grooves in the door delineating one colour from the next, the circles don’t always stay in their lane. Colours blend and transition and sometimes even on the same dot! At times we may feel solidly one colour, at other times, we aren’t sure which colour we are, and we could fit in multiple places and blend right in with the colours around us. The differences between us are more subtle than might appear on the face of it.
The background for this Owl Eye is a piece of wood I found in the garage. I liked the knot and decided to use that as the centerpiece. I wanted to create an owl’s eye that also included both the beak and the ear tuft. Most of the cans for the white portion are Stella Artios.
I used this piece as a theme for a retreat several years ago. We explored self-compassion, particularly when we look into the dark places of our selves that we don’t like. Did you know that owls’ night vision is 100x more keen than humans? Owls find their nourishment by looking into the darkness. They venture into the night and with great perspective, they look into the dark and find what feeds them. Could we find what feeds us,
if we are willing to look in the darkness?
This whimsical piece is just a delight and did not emerge with any deep insight or metaphorical meaning. I simply love the colours and how they transition giving lots of nudges for your eye to move around the piece. Much like the bee, my eye visits different spots – here and there – taking little bits of sweetness as I go.