Enriching the Arts

Jean K. Blackall, ASA


During   my late teens, early twenties I was privileged to attend two years of post-secondary art school. This school had been created in a wing of the current technical secondary school in London, Ontario. It filled a need to give further education and stimulation to artistic students who could not, for one reason or another, attend art college in Toronto.

The  time I spent immersed in study there were some of the happiest days of my life. I was deeply moved and inspired by the radical teaching of Herb Ariss. His words and criticism have stayed with me. He inspired his students to see with new eyes and to feel deeply about telling the story in  new ways.  Shortly after leaving school, marriage, children and paid work in non-artistic areas became my reality. Although I continued my education part-time (at Capilano College and Simon Fraser University) through the years,   it was not until well into my forties that I felt able to return to creative art in a full time way. During a lifetime of observation,  my experience of what I need to put on the canvas has completely changed. Also the many courses I have taken through the Federation of Canadian Artists and through Emily Carr University have influenced my work.

When I observe a subject,  I have always responded to the energy of that subject. It is a joy to give colour and shape to energy patterns that permeate our world. The more I create, the sharper my sense of this energy becomes.

The medium of collage lends itself to creating illusion. For me, collage functions as a channel for emotions as well as a tool to portray image. I find the flexibility and the ways I can create contrast and unusual space on my canvas gives me freedom to expand beyond the response to the subject I could make using paint alone.  Collage has become my personal method of choice using acrylic media and found material.

The visual ambiguity that can be achieved with collage lends itself to tapping into the unconscious of the viewer. The viewer then brings to the work deeply held issues, making the viewing a personal experience. It is important to me that the viewer find more in the collage than originally drew the eye. I like to layer symbolic human industrial structure over the natural to portray human imposition on our earth. Having grown up on a farm, I am very much attuned to my natural world and I like to bring this influence to my collage work.

HUB @ 302 Showcase Gallery
Open Tues -Fri   from 10 am – 4 pm

The Alberta Society of Artists
Crossroads Art Centre
#302 – 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012

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