July 2 to August 1, 2010: €œArcangles€ Holly Briesmaster and Janice Jackson, a two-person collaborative exhibition of fans and constructions that explores the arc form.
Friday July 9, artists present 7-10 pm for James North Art Crawl
Sunday July 18, 2-5 pm, reception and poetry reading, artists present. Readers include: Jim Slominski (from the Niagara area); Sonia Di Placido (Toronto area); Adam Getty (Hamilton); Linda Frank (Hamilton); Allan Briesmaster (Thornhill); Chris Pannell (Hamilton).
The fan has a long history as a decorative and functional object. In ancient times, fans were made of palm leaves or feathers. There is a rich cultural history of fans, and of painting on fans, in many countries.
The fan is an organic shape. Its arc and the repetition of its line echoes the growth pattern and form of many natural objects. Think of a leaf, a bat€™s wing, a shell structure, the extended feathers of a bird, or a splayed human hand. To quote D€™Arcy Thompson, the first biomathematician, €œSome curves are more elegant than others.€ Fans show us the beauty of curve and form, proportion and pattern.
By using a surface with depth, instead of a canvas or sheet of paper, the fundamental rules are made to shift. With the semicircular fan, instead of a frame or border, there are blades and guards. A third dimension is established before the surface is painted. The pleats create different planes, which may be read sequentially (left to right or reverse) or as segments (quarter past, quarter to). The semicircle suggests incompleteness, and paradoxically, the possibility of continuance. Light strikes the fan at unexpected intervals. Colour is form. Forms emerge and retreat. [right: Janice Jackson’s Distant Warning]
The fan also has kinetic and sculptural aspects, stemming from its original function of relieving heat and driving off insects. Even at rest, a fan reminds us of the air. Any surface that moves back and forth in an arc from a fulcrum or fixed point acts as a fan. Potential, if not actual motion, on the one hand, and a partial and temporary concealment, on the other, are integral elements. The range of shapes is not limited to the oval, circle, or semicircle.
A fan is like a hand-held palette. It is also architectural; a moving or static arc. Blurring the boundaries between artifact and art object, the fan offers multiple possibilities. Among them: language as signal, form as function, stillness as latent movement, gesture as fact. [Left: Holly Briesmaster’s Prism North]
Holly Briesmaster and Janice Jackson
Holly Briesmaster: My work as a fan painter started eight years ago when I felt a change was called for from working on a rectangular format. As a child in elementary school I remember colouring and folding sheets of paper into fans, and wanted to return to that initial discovery. The fans are various sizes (hand-held, mid- and large wall-size). Acrylic paint is applied to paper and cloth (linen fans). The folds in the fans lend themselves well to geometric designs and organic motifs. By painting on an €œarc€ the possibilities for a €œflight of fancy€ are limitless and yet grounded in an architectural structure.
Janice Jackson: My visual language of line and form has been developed from studies of birds, plants and landscape. The arc of the fan echoes the beauty and patterns found in nature. Fan paintings and constructions allow me to explore the abstract possibilities inherent in natural forms. Arcangles is the second full show that Holly and I have collaborated on. We respond to the same artistic challenge (the shape of the fan) in our own artistic voice, but the process is enhanced by sharing of ideas and enthusiasm for the art of the fan.
Holly Briesmaster was born in Toronto and received a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Toronto. Afterwards, she was a tour guide for the Art Gallery of Ontario and spent a year studying at the University of Leiden, Holland. She has exhibited her watercolour landscapes and collages in many group shows (Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit, Art Gallery of Mississauga Juried Show, Mill Pond Gallery in Richmond Hill, Varley Art Museum in Unionville), and has had several solo and duo shows (including The Illuminary Art Gallery and Pteros Gallery in Toronto, McKay Art Centre in Unionville, and most recently, Gallery Hittite in Toronto).
Janice Jackson is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. She has lived in Hamilton for over twenty years. She works in a variety of media and creates art and designs for literary publications. In her work as an artist and occupational therapist, she creates nature-themed wall murals with moveable painted wood pieces. The murals are interactive €“ designed to be touched and changed. They are created with individuals who are in institutional care because of advanced dementia or other conditions. Painting provides purposeful activity and a positive outlet for self-expression. She is currently working on a mural at St Joseph€™s Villa in Dundas.
Review by Stephanie Vegh:
Even with the relief of some much-needed rain on Friday morning, a summer Art Crawl is an inevitably humid affair…. Still, I was mildly covetous of the large, splashy fans hanging in Artword Artbar€™s relatively cool basement gallery this month. Arcangles features a collaborative selection of painted fans and related constructions by Holly Briesmaster and Janice Jackson. The sculptural explorations of the arching formal structure of the fan are among the more interesting objects and bear a modernist concern that is reflected in the brightly blocked motifs applied to the found fans. These designs are not always painted convincingly, nor do they truly explore the dimensional qualities of the fan so playfully demonstrated in the sculptural assemblages, but the overall effect of the show remains visually pleasing.