The Art of Subtraction with Steph Krawchuk

Steph Krawchuk is a painter based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her work is largely autobiographical and documentary, painting the people and spaces that surround her. This is evident from her past work of portraiture, still life, and cityscapes. Krawchuk has an upcoming show at Art Placement May 30th-June 25th 2015. Along with her building paintings, new work focusing on lines and abstraction will be available for viewing. Reception is Saturday May 30th at 2pm in the gallery at Art Placement. I had the the opportunity to do an interview with her in May of 2015. The transcript and some of her work is below.

Artist Website

Art Placement Show Information

Amanda Leigh: What is happening with your upcoming show?

Steph Krawchuk: It’s going to be about half buildings, and half abstract paintings.

AL: Why half and half?

SK: I think that when I knew I was having a show, I was doing buildings, it’s mostly what I do, and it’s a lot of lines and shapes and colour. Then during that process I just wanted to see what I could do with forgetting about subject matter and just making those elements. Some of them are on canvas, and some of them are on paper being framed.

AL: What was the drive to strip it down more, to ‘lines and shapes and colour’?

SK: I was curious about what I could do, I had never really done that before and I’ve been painting for over 10 years. I’ve always been interested, and generally speaking when I look at art or art history what I love is a lot of abstract expressionist sort of stuff, so it seemed natural to try this.

Steph Krawchuk,

Steph Krawchuk, “Follow II”,
2014, Oil on canvas,

AL: Are there specific artists or time period that are influencing this new work?

SK: When I was looking at abstract stuff, I definitely went to Willem de Kooning, he’s like a feast of information, his whole career is pretty awesome; Brice Marden is another artist who did a lot of line work, which seems kind of easy but is not; and Stuart Davis, who has actually been called one of the first pop artists even before Warhol, he was doing these abstract shapes which are so cool and colourful. Those are three people I’ve been looking at, but also: Rothko, Pollock.

AL: With these abstracts, are you doing them freehand or basing them off of still life or the forms of buildings?

SK: It’s just the bare canvas and seeing what happens. I start by putting down lines quickly and not really thinking about it. With the buildings and the portraits it’s all about adding and subtracting until you are sort of at peace with what’s there. With these[abstracts], it’s almost another level of that process, it was very frustrating. I couldn’t have done the larger ones on canvas without doing smaller ones on paper. I’m really grateful to Art Placement, the gallery that I’m showing with, because they had a drawing show and they were totally open to looking through these sketchbooks, and I did these maybe nine years ago, I’m not even sure. The gallery took them and they framed them, and that was very encouraging for me. I mean I didn’t think these were awesome, but it was a start. I’m just very pleased to see I can do an abstract painting on canvas, because a year ago I couldn’t.

AL: What were your frustrations a year ago?

SK: It’s a different way of handling paint. It’s hard to describe. When I’m doing a building, I’ve been doing them for seven or eight years, so I have an idea of what I’m doing, where I’m going, what it might look like. The buildings also exist, they are downtown, and I know what they look like. These [points to abstract canvases] are completely made up, which maybe could be easier, but I don’t think that it actually is.

AL: Are you still trying to resolve these issues in your abstract practice, or have you become very comfortable?

SK: This is still really brand new. This show for me feels like the beginning. I think I want to start working on larger scale abstract paintings; it’s part of that process where I started doing smaller ones on paper, then moving onto bigger ones. With the differently handling of paint, it’s almost hard to tell when it’s starting to look “good” with abstract work, its tricky, it’s very bare.

Steph Krawchuk,

Steph Krawchuk, “Blues”,
2014, Oil on paper,

AL: Space plays a lot in your abstracts, compared to your building paintings that are full of the building itself, the street, the cars or trees.

SK: It takes some experience to get that space down. The original abstracts I did were very messy partly because of this, and I was kind of discouraged, but what for whatever reason I’ve talked to other artists who have said starting with paper is a more forgiving medium, and I’m not really sure why. So I started with paper and acrylic, which I think was a quicker and more forgiving process, rather than starting with oil. I then layered it with oil paint so I could have the finish that I’m used to. I feel like now I have a better grip on these paintings, but you still can’t be too confident, I’m still kind of slightly confused when I start. That [points to an abstract] took a while to do, and sometimes I still look at it and say “what the hell is that?”

AL: Depending on what type of mood you’re in?

SK: No I like it, and people that I’ve showed it to quite like it, but it’s very… different.

AL: Have you had any palette issues, with colour?

SK: Not exactly, but when you look at this [abstract painting with greys] it’s subdued in colour compared to a lot of stuff that I have done. I struggle with busyness. I’ve been wanting to refine my painting, which I think has happened in the past couple years. Sometimes my paintings are busy and colourful, but I’m also learning less is more.

Steph Krawchuk,

Steph Krawchuk, “Cambridge Court”
2015, Oil on canvas

AL: Why have you been so eager with bright colours?

SK: I’m attracted to it I guess, I think people are attracted to colours, it draws people in very quickly, but maybe people can be turned off by it too. I’ve always found colour to be a way of communicating, I don’t exactly know what, but maybe as a way for people to get engaged with my paintings. It’s very immediate, whether you like it or not it’s there, it makes you look at it.

AL: I think everyone, regardless of art training or background or anything like that, can talk about colour.

SK: Everybody has a relationship with colour. I think I kind of use that in a way. I once saw a Van Gogh painting in New York, and that’s when I feel I really learned about colour, because it was a portrait, and I really didn’t even like the painting to be honest, but the colour in the background was this lime green, and you were fixated on it. That sold me on the impact that colour can deliver. You don’t even have to like the painting.

AL: I think that speaks to space again, the painting was of the figure, but that background played such a large roll for you, larger than the “focus” the painting.

SK: I mean if you look at my portraits, it’s always a flat colour behind. It’s almost in all my paintings actually, people say that my buildings are almost portrait-like.

AL: Why are you so interested in painting Saskatoon, or cityscapes?

SK: I’m interested in documenting what’s around me. I don’t think too much about it, I don’t want to paint a picture from a photo of some other city I’m not living in. I live downtown, I walk around a lot downtown, I work downtown, and so it seems like an obvious subject matter. There is so much information in a scene; there are so many lines, there’s so much opportunity for me to paint.

AL: Are you interested in architecture?

SK: I’m interested yes. I love travelling and see different cities and buildings, and making paintings of it. What interests me the most, and maybe you can tell from these paintings, are buildings with character. Stuff like that is just waiting for me to do a painting of it. I could just take the scenes of Saskatoon for granted so I have to look a bit into… what I’m looking at. Through these paintings I feel like I’ve gotten to know so many little details that people probably don’t notice. I look around a lot, I kind of love that.

Steph Krawchuk,

Steph Krawchuk, “Parkview Facing the Street”,
2014, Oil on canvas,

AL: Do you find that people connect to you because of the city paintings?

SK: Sometimes I’m commissioned to do a painting, but there no doubt some people do like to see Saskatoon like this.

AL: In the buildings in real life, these facade colours are so neutral these small details almost disappear into each other. You’ve been able to achieve really picking and choosing your small detail to focus on, while kind of blocking everything else with colour.

SK: That’s exactly it it, I was thinking about a write up Lorenzo Dupuis, a painter I did a show with, and what he said is I don’t get overly detailed with these buildings, but like you said, what I’m interested in I highlight. I paint a door, a window, a sign, as a focus and that’s how I pare it down.

AL: Do these little details relate to your influences we talked about earlier?

SK: Before this show along with getting interested in these abstract painters which I’ve always cared about, but looking more at those three I mentioned in particular, I also briefly got interested in pop art, and that’s the point in art history I usually start to get disinterested. I realized though, that I like painting signs, and restaurants, and I just figured whatever. I sort of embraced that I maybe had some pop in me too.

AL: It’s not something that you have to dislike

SK: No no, but the pop artists were doing these almost meaningless paintings, almost with no emotion because they didn’t like the abstract painters and that their paintings were full of emotion.

AL: Are you using your paintings as a vehicle for emotion?

SK: Not really. When I’m painting it’s more about the process, about refining the painting, and the use of colour. I never really thought of colour as being a subject matter. You know, you go to school, they set up a still life, and we’re all thinking we need to reproduce this thing like it is, and you can do so much more. I think that’s why painting is so frustrating the first year, because what we think what we need to be painting is so limiting. I was taught to never use black lines, so a lot of my earlier work is really colourful… with no black lines. I am still using colour, but you can see the old work is a lot ‘louder’ with it.

AL: You’ve really taken colour and run with it, while being able to break some rules and add in black lines.

SK: Yeah, and maybe colour has been my first endeavour, and still is, but now I’m really interested in focusing on how much I enjoy and am interested in lines, and where that can go. Along with colour, lines are the process of these abstract paintings, and with lines come shapes.

Steph Krawchuk,

Steph Krawchuk, “Follow”,
2014, Oil on canvas

AL: In this new work it’s evident colour is playing less of an obvious role, when looking back at your contrast work, especially the red/green paintings.

SK: I use to love the old red/green combo, it was a good one [laughs]. The German expressionist movement, in the 30s, learning about that just left a big impression on me. And we grow up knowing what about art? And then you take art history and you see that people made naive looking paintings, people made paintings that kind of looked like kids did them, but they were experienced painters, there is so much you can do. Seeing the German expressionists was really inspiring to me; they were slightly messier, and angrier, which these [points at abstracts] are not. I’m realizing I’m kind of a clean painter, I don’t really paint out of the lines, it’s kind of contained. In university I realized that I was an expressive painter, but I’m not an emotional painter. I think its up to the viewer if they connect some sort of emotion to it, its up to the audience.

AL: I think that’s what a lot of people like. Maybe it’s not ‘the job of an artist’, but the by product of an art work is that you’re making something apparent, you’re showing something in a new way that is everyday to a lot of people.

SK: I really want my work to get people who don’t even know they like art excited about art, someone who maybe wouldn’t necessarily go to a gallery, or know anything about art history, I don’t think that you need to. I think it’s possible to connect with these paintings. I don’t think they’re overly challenging to the viewer, and they weren’t easy to just make at all, but I think for the viewer my art is maybe more accessible. Four kids own my paintings [laughs]. For anybody to get excited about my work is cool.

AL: It’s really important to be exposed to different kinds of painting, or art, at a young age. If they see them, maybe they can make them.

SK: And it’s nice to own original art. They grow up around these paintings, so they grow up with the idea that they can have original paintings too.


Patricia Shiplett “Break On Through to the Other Side” at Snelgrove

Patricia Shiplett, or Patty, has a very nice installation-exhibition in the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery until the end of the week. This is a show that you need to spend some time in, absorbing and reflecting on what is going on. It’s place to meditate and reflect on your reality, mortality, what might lie beyond. It is a quiet journey about one’s existence. There’s a delicate balance that this exhibit walks; teetering between elements of psychedelia (through various uses of lights/lasers) while also grounding you and connecting you to memory and self reflection. There’s hints of phantom mysticism and I found myself searching for something deeper than average reality. Lights appear like spirits. Many of Patty’s projections have moments of beauty, that you want to grasp on to but they quickly fade away. Maybe it’s something to be said about the impermanence of life.
Everything someday will go away.
But were they ever there? What is the basis of our reality, is it really real.
One projector cycles through the lit words “are you really sure you really are”


The largest sculpture in the exhibition is in the center of the room as you walk in. A few bundles of branches that are wrapped in a way that feels like a funeral rite. Then surrounding these bundles are lit tubes containing sapling plants. Accompanying the ground sculpture is a wall projection that shifts between light clusters resembling cell division and Patty’s own archival footage of domestic scenes or something resembling old biology films. That’s the thing with this whole exhibition. There is a vague familiarity with a lot of elements but you are never completely sure. Which brings you back to that phrase ..are you really sure you really are? Back to the sculpture, Bring your own meaning to it, I felt like I was witnessing the life cycle. Old plant life, with new plant life, and the projection being the non-physical; memory and consciousness.


To the side of the entrance is a long sheet of plexiglass with thousands of spiked glass shards poking through, the whole thing is back-lit by a red LED. The lighting effect made a line with a large round shape above it. The circular shape is a good focal point but it’s nice to explore the peripheries of this piece seeing the light and shadow play as its shines through this complex surface. The shape of the red circle with the line made me think of a persons silhouette maybe a Buddha, but another person I spoke to saw a horizon with a sun.


On another wall is bands of color on a wall. When inspecting this more you realize that each band of color is actually a distorted video feed. There’s moments during these bands videos that their colors and pattern have a beautiful harmony together, but just as you realize it, it changes. You do this a lot with her exhibit. Finding a moment and it disappears. Makes you want to watch through it again to see that moment. Patty told me that they were streams of consciousness. Which makes sense, people’s lives are sometimes in tune with each others then they keep moving. Whatever it is, I like it.


Here we have cut portions of Emerson Poetry, plants, and a photo of a man and a skull.
A collection of thoughts, an example of life, light, and the physical body.
-I liked the reflection of the lights inside the box. Like phantoms of something existing somewhere else.


Here’s another projection. A figure appears and disappears into the background, fuzzed up, sometimes looking like a blob more than a human. Looks like a moving abstract painting. The figure in dark blue amid a blue background with the hint of a warm inviting light behind the figure. There’s something nice about it.


Beside that projection is a light box photo with a shifting laser pyramid. The light box photo is a person behind a screen with hands and chest close to the screen. It reminded me though of the face of a fetus in that strange development phase when fetus of humans, sharks, bats, dolphins all look the same,


My favorite film is on the north east wall. There’s two sections of this film that I really enjoyed. One moment there are globes of light traveling across with an ambiguous structure that might be double exposed. But eventually it clarifies to a bus seat and the reflections of the city traveling by.


At another point in the film is a beautiful wall of color that has slight variations and shifts throughout it, as it slowly moves into another color. It didn’t seem like a computer made color, because it feels like there is more substance and depth to it and knowing Patty’s tendency of collecting odd bits of interesting things she films over the last four years it was probably more.I asked Patty about it and she told me that she shot this scene into a pool of water that was under-lit.


Patty’s has a few of these slow pulsing lights that she calls portals. They fade and shift through different colors. Once again it had me staring into light trying to find the best color combinations but was also good to imagine nothing else existing but this globe of light. If it was a portal, would you enter?

Particia Shiplett’s show is really worth seeing. There’s a lot of interesting work that she brings the viewer into exploring with her. I mentioned a few things but there is a lot more. A big factor in the success of this exhibition is mood inside the gallery. With blacked out windows you don’t know what to expect. Entering in you see lights, lasers, strange sculptures and many projections but the music sets the tone. The exhibit is paired perfectly with a soundtrack composed by her son Alex Stooshinoff (aka Living Room).

The music is integral to gallery experience, Alex’s music slows you down, calms you, and grounds you. It’s beautifully rhythmic seemingly in tune with your breath that aids the gallery guest to begin the process of introspection that Patty’s work calls for. Like Patty’s practice of collecting film, Alex pairs his melodies with samples of sounds that he’s recorded through a pilgrimage in Spain. The soundtrack brings life, memory and comfort to what could sometimes be a strange exhibit.

While exploring death, this show also explores life, meaning of existence and memory.
If you want to take a quiet journey and explore something different than your usual gallery. I suggest you take in Patty’s show while you have the chance.

Jessica Sukut, Kaja Coleman and Edna Oleksyn at the Snelgrove

It’s the end of the term 2 on campus and the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery is seeing the last of the BFA shows of the year. This week we have Jessica Sukut, Kaja Coleman, and Edna Oleksyn showing their BFA exhibitions.

Jessica Sukut’s “Reconstruction”

Jessica’s theme of her BFA show dwells on home and memory. Home is a great idea woth thinking about. Your home is your dwelling that keeps you safe, warm and comforted. You shape your home with colors, decorations and furnishings giving it a personality and feel that might create an emotional response. You spend so much time in your various homes that they might seem organic and alive, like an extension of the people that live there. Our homes are part of who we are.

Jessica looks at her memories of her home creating paintings that look like half built mental landscapes. I remember my previous homes, yet some details are a bit hazy and I’m sure if I spoke to one of my brothers we would have different recollections. You can see this in Jessica’s work. Her paintings are surreal toeing the line between dream and reality. Her paintings look like they’re from the head of an undecided architect: to do this she uses painters tape, mixes hard lines and sketched lines, strange vivid colors on top of solemn darks and greys, and -my favorite part- some unnatural physics. Jessica has some really cool work. There are some good layers that make them enjoyable to explore. She masks and weaves her over layers and under layers beautifully so that you question which is which. Which brings me back to the content. Is her work with painting over layers and leaving under layers go back to her treatment of memory? Do we have actual real memory (underlayer) that exists in some places but the rest of the details we paint with our own invented memories (filling the gaps with an over layer?) Hmmm. Good stuff

Some elements reminded me of buildings in a virtual world, like 2nd life. Things appear to look normal but other elements are skewed, unnatural hyper colored, and a bit strange; reminding you that it’s an imagined landscape


^aren’t they great?.

Kaja Coleman’s “A Matter of Material”

Kaja has a series of large scale mixed media drawings of X-rays. She became fascinated with X-rays after her son was diagnosed with a condition Osteogenesis Imperfecta that effects bone strength and elasticity of tissues. X-rays are fascinating: they show what we don’t see. They also create images that tricks the eye, the hardest densest materials -bones- appear light and to be floating. Just as you might wonder how an X-ray creates an image, you might wonder how Kaja does. She’s got huge drawing that she uses numerous materials. The paintings are clean but have a life history evident in the mark making, texture and materials that she uses. There’s cheese cloth in some of them that instantly reminds me of gauze, casts, and surgical procedures. She uses wax in some of her drawings, reminding me of sculpting and bones. Her materiality speaks to you.

Then there’s interpreting these drawings. It takes a skilled physician or specialist to properly read an X-ray. How does a gallery visitor read these drawings of X rays? First do they see them as X rays: discovering the unseen bones and making an assumption about the life/health of the person. Or do they see them as drawings: exploring the materials, expressive marks, maybe footprint -a history of the artist.


Edna Oleksyn’s “Transition”

From her paintings you can tell that Edna loves her family and nature. There’s the things you see right away. She’s surrounded by family love, there’s the painting Family Tree that has three generations together around a tree, and other familial portraits. Edna also has some love for the outdoors as she paints forests in all seasons.

But I think the trees in her paintings are her family and are a metaphor for the human life cycle. There’s a painting of horticulturists attending to and nurturing saplings in a tree nursery. There’s the beauty of trees in all seasons despite outward appearance of snow, and fall. There’s a tree roots anchored and clinging to a shore line despite threats of erosion. Then you think about family and you see her best paintings of new growth amidst old growth forest. You have some hope that after your elders are gone, they will live on through their grandchildren. There’s a broken tree, with new trees growing around it and a beautiful sun glowing in the distance. Yes, life might change, but things move on. These paintings are hopeful and are painted with love.


the reception is Friday night, come celebrate the end of term with a drink and some art!!

This week at the Snelgrove: Raene Poisson, Kayla Prive and Kendall Brandt

3 more BFA shows are up at the Snelgrove this week, all very different from one another.

Raene Poisson’s “Clouds N’ Shit”

Oh Saskatchewan. A place where flat prairie horizons are engulfed by the massive sky. There’s sky evvvvvveryyyyyywheeeeeeere.
Sometimes there’s clouds and most of us like to watch them. While watching clouds roll over the prairie, it can be fun to imagine the clouds as animals and shapes. Raene Poisson definitely likes to to watch the clouds. She’s taken a slight departure from the usual prairie landscape painter and painted exaggerated, imaginative, fantasy clouds in big vivid colors. Her clouds are big purple monsters, pink sheets and shape shifting bubbling goop.

Raene has an interesting approach to color in her paintings. Her skies are usually dark and slightly ominous, sometimes with streaks of bright sun breaking through the darkness. She has a thing for purples and pinks in her clouds that really makes them stand out in the dark skies. Then there’s the gold accents and metallic interference gels that really capture and move light through her paintings.

What are these about? Is there a message in her use of colors? Maybe they’re about imagination (clouds) and hope (sunlight) as they push through the despairing dark skies. .. Or maybe it’s Raene just playing around making Clouds N’ Shit.



^this one has a Schnabel feel to it as she glued on broken cups and plates to the surface.


Kayle Prive’s “A Look and a Listen”

Music and Art have been Kayla’s companions since her early childhood memories of listening to music with her crayola crayons. Kayla’s show merges music with visual art as she has created multi-media works of art that accompany specific songs. She’s even included a handful of mp3 players for gallery goers to listen to the songs as they explore her artworks.Some of her paintings are very literal, others take some teasing out.
Her memories of crayola are evident in her handling of color. Kayla’s show is an explosion of color that made me want to taste the rainbow and have a candy fix (conveniently, she included cotton-candy lollipops for the taking beside her guest book). Her paintings look like surreal, bubblegum pop, illustrations that are laden with symbols. I felt a bit of 70’s nostalgia, as I was reminded of trippy concert posters and The Beatles Yellow Submarine music video. Kayla might be an inner flower child. Kayla show has a lot of experimentation with media as he mixes in numerous objects and peculiar materials into her portrait scenes.





Kendall Brandt’s “Assemblage”

Kendall’s Brandt has an interesting painting/drawing BFA show that sticks out from the other two shows in the Snelgrove. Kendall’s work isn’t light and easy, and he’s using a more subdued natural palette.

Kendall has paintings and drawings of bodies and people emerging from or disappearing into a fog. Some details in his paintings are beautiful, lush and crisp while other parts are hazy and unfocused. There’s a huge feeling of unknown and a tinge of angst as the figures blur and disappear into their surroundings. It’s hard discerning what is going on because they are strange scenes of certain beauty but also some potent ugliness. Is he trying to mess with us? His figuration is really well done and pleasing to see and then he blurs them, has them disappear, or has them do something strange that makes you question yourself and how you are reading the image.

Then amongst these strange scenes there’s a painting of a cow. What’s that all about? With all of the states of human bodies and random body parts is Kendall addressing existence and mortality. In the long run, are we just bodies after our consciousness enters the fog of unknown.
Ask Kendall about it, and don’t be deceived by his funny nonchalance.






Come by the Snelgrove to check these shows out. The closing reception is Friday from 7-10!


Corinna Wollf, Kelsey Treen and Jodie Unruh at the Snelgrove

There were three BFA shows at the Snelgrove up this week. The gallery has unity between the shows in that they’re all illustrative paintings that have a narrative feel.

Corinna Wollf’s “Between Worlds”

Corinna has taken an interesting approach to her BFA exhibit. She has created two tetraptychs (five paintings in an organized display) that mirror one another across the gallery. These two tetrptychs represent two worlds that Corinna is living in: the North American Aboriginal and European rooted culture.  During her travels researching Classical and Renaissance art through Italy, Corinna was moved by the Pallata Fountain in Brescia. The fountain was full of cultural value with symbols representing stories and myth. Corinna recreated the components of the fountain as a structure of paintings in her “Living Waters” tetrptych by adding stories and symbols that correspond with her identity. Mirroring “Living Waters” on the opposite wall is “Waters of Life” representing the culture and history of Aboriginal people.

Corinna’s paintings are filled with symbolism containing a multitude of narratives. Listening to Corinna explain her paintings creates an element of oral storytelling that enriches her work. There’s some profound meaning and allusions to events that Corinna explores in her work.


Kelsey Treen’s “Katabasis”

Kelsey Treen has created a series of paintings dealing with traditional myths conceptualized in a modern/futuristic context. Like Corrina’s work Kelsey has created paintings to communicate a story. She’s dealing with myths from multiple religions but attempts to unite them in her exhibition. I’d like to see more unity between her paintings to further link them together. Something like using similar main colors and accents or recognizable settings/characters would have been interesting.



Jodie Unruh’s “Creatures”

Recently Jodie Unruh made the switch from painting still-lifes to painting figuration. Her previous experience of still-lifes shines through in her new work. She’s painting figures collected from fashion magazines that appear porcelain and statuesque. It’s all in her lighting as she builds the light and shadows in layers exaggerating the planar quality. Then there’s the subject matter itself: Jodie introduces creatures onto these fashion statues disrupting the intended composition. They become strange and intriguing. Her paintings are of women elegantly keeping their composure despite the hives of bees, coils of serpents, gigantic crabs, or massive spiders that they are coexisting with. She’s turned simple images into strange scenes begging for additional narratives. They could easily be illustrations from a fairy tale or fictional world.

Looking at Jodie’s paintings challenge the viewer: how do you see these strange scenes? Are they still magazine images despite the additions of creepy creatures?  Is there some sort of hierarchy present  ie. are we concerned with the figure foremost and the creature after? Are you as comfortable with painted figures with the presence of these creatures? Personally, I hate spiders and I’m allergic to bees but I love Jodie’s paintings.



You’ve got the rest of the day to see these shows at the Snelgrove, or drop by the closing reception tonight from 7-9!


Andie Nicole Palynchuk “T’works” show at Green Ark

Once again Green Ark Collected Home is displaying some great art in their beautiful furniture/home design space (212 20th St. W


This time it’s Andie Nicole’s funky “T’works of Art” paintings. Andie graduated with her BFA show last year and hasn’t stopped painting in her wild style. The paintings showing in “T’works” is a continuation of her BFA exhibit where bodies and scenes are warping and disappearing inside a beautiful/mad world that are exciting to explore.
Her paintings are like a Where’s Waldo? where you initially find something but the more you look into them the more you discover. You’ll see abstracted bodies painted in a classical style amongst pop cartooning and rough Basquiat-like mark making. Her colors are mostly cool, with flashes of bright warm accents that really pop. Andie paints boldly in numerous layers. I’ve had the opportunity to see her works in progress and they undergo a series of metamorphoses. Sometimes the final painting only has clues toward the initial piece but it’s this depth that is truly captivating. Andie has no fear when it comes to painting. You see elements of a bold playfulness as she mixes all kinds painting and mark making methods. Some of her paintings she uses everything but the kitchen sink: acrylic paint, oil paint, pastel, chalk, oil stick, charcoal, and water inks. How she pulls it all together is beyond me, but you feel there is a certain amount of fun experimentation.  These paintings need to be seen in person to be appreciated. ImageImageImage

Andie’s reception is Saturday March 15, 7-10pm at Green Ark and are up until April 25th.
Some seriously fun and beautiful work by an up and coming Saskatoon artist.
Come check them out!!

Saskatoon Art Adventure!

Yesterday the University Visual Arts Students Union (VASU) and friends went on an art adventure throughout Saskatoon. Our first stop was at the Mendel Art Gallery. If you haven’t seen the Mendel’s most recent exhibitions “Contemporary Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada” (curated by Rhiannon Vogl) and artist Trace Nelson’s exhibition “Wall’s of Intrigue and Cabinets of Curiosity” then you must MUST check them out. I’ve been back to see the exhibit numerous times and it’s exciting, inspiring and fun.

But we weren’t at the Mendel for a regular visit: we’ve come for a tour of the vault. Mendels’ registrar Donald Roach took us on a VIP tour through the back rooms and the vault of the gallery. Inside the vault was all kinds of treasures and more than a few strange and dumbfounding works of art. We got the chance to hear from Donald interesting stories behind artwork and acquisitions.


Our next stop was to 330G workspace and gallery. 330G is located in an old church that has been flipped at 330 Avenue G (get it?) owned and managed by artist Marie Lanoo. We got an artist studio tour from two of the artist working in 330G: Sean Weisgerber and Marie Lanoo. Something that struck me about seeing the artists in 330G was the amount experimentation and serious play. Both artists have an artistic practice using constant experimentation that leads them to breakthroughs and discoveries with their work. Many of their works in progress aren’t treated as precious, this detachment from their work allows them to push their work further to possible disaster. An important skill of a successful artist is the ability to edit, stated Weisgerber. To know what worked and didn’t work in this innovative creative environment makes all the difference.

We started 330G with a tour of Weisgerber’s studio. Sean’s space is divided into a classic white walled painting area and what looks like painting torture chamber. The torture chamber had canvases and frames shackled, hanging upside down from the the ceiling by multiple rigs. Their surface covered in a thick grey paint that oozed down with gravity forming stalactites.

For real though, Sean’s work is very cool. Previously producing beautiful, intricate and sometimes optic hard edged paintings; Sean is now captivated by dip paintings. He’s dipping paintings in giant vats of thick house paints numerous time to create a hardened spikey surface. He’s made some really great ones, and he’s still experimenting. I enjoyed the empty frame drip paintings, the one that he has shot up at a shooting range, his “vitamin P” triptych and his multicolored drips.
I enjoyed what Sean had to say about his creative process and his advice about working in the creative industry (since graduating from Emily Carr, Sean had numerous art odd jobs that informs his practice). Check out Sean’s website for more of his work


^Sean explaining his pull system, with in process hanging drip paintings in background.


^some of Sean Weisgerber’s finished drip paintings.


Next we got a chance to see Marie Lannoo’s studio space. Marie Lannoo has been creating loads of work dealing with color and optics (just look at her portfolio from 2001-present! Marie gave us a run through of some of her multiple projects. She paints on resin “paper” then folds it creating multiple tones as the light plays off the surface (see recent work She’s also making these translucent color swatch gradients that you see two colors beautifully merging together. Marie is also playing with transparent theater lighting gels, folding them and layering them. I was fascinated with her latest sculptural project that she has rings of holes cut into marble slabs that she has put rolled tubes of color into the holes. The tubes of color express a gradient of color from middle to outside edge. The juxtaposition between the natural, cold and ancient marble with the synthetic, colored plastic tubing is delightful. Her use of materials reminded me of Robert Youds’ work “Urban Tribe” that exhibited at the Mendel ( Marie gave us some excellent advice from a seasoned contemporary artist making work in Saskatoon (refreshing to see!).

^Marie Lannoo taking us through some of her gradient study paintings.


^a view of more of Marie Lannoo’s work, including the in process marble slab sculpture


Our next stop on the Art Adventure was to Tammi Campbell’s studio on Avenue C. You might have seen Tammi’s work in the recent “They made a day be a day here” exhibit curated by Amy Fung at the Mendel Art Gallery. Seeing Tammi’s work is a bit deceiving. At first glance it looks like unfinished work of a hard edge / modernist painter with painters tape being left on the painting. But Tammi’s work is more cheeky than that. Her work plays at the act of painting and the material process. Her work references the work of popular modernist painters of the 50’s of New York and those that graced the Emma Lake Workshop. But in Tammi’s paintings her tape left on her paintings isn’t actually tape, but the painting itself. Through some experimentation Tammi has found a recipe to make paint that appears like tape. To further the illusion she purposely peels some edges lifting corners to make it even more believable. Take a look at Tammi’s work for a better idea ( Tammi’s work makes you question the nature of art. How did your appreciation of her work shift after learning about her process? Does the use of materials change the expression in a work of art? Or the question: Is it tape, is it not tape, does it matter??


Tammi also shared with us her daily drawing ritual. Everyday for over 3 years she’s been making line drawings as a response to work by Agnes Martin (see one of her sketch-studies here: . Tammi’s drawings always start with Dear Agnes, followed by patterned lines that appear as personal rhythmic letters to an old friend. Tammi gave us some good insight into her experiences as an artist in Saskatoon, and gave us some great advice (artist residencies!!).



Our last stop on was Zachary Logan’s studio. Zachary Logan’s work is striking and great meeting with him in his studio/workshop. Zachary’s converted garage studio seemed a bit more realistic for us emerging artists. It was neat seeing some of his immaculate drawings in process with study material and inspiration throughout his space. His pastel work on black paper is velvety and delicious while his intricately detailed blue line drawings on clouded mylar are insane (see some of his work on his website: Zachary told us all about his journey as an artist with highlights including residences in Vienna, gallery shows in New York and Paris and how being included in a curated art magazine opened doors for him. Zach’s positive outlook and friendly advice was inspiring and energizing for us art students and a perfect way to close our Art Adventure day.


^one of Zachary Logan’s walls. Lots to see


^an in-process pastel work of Zachary Logan





^a start to one of his blue pencil drawings.


^studio view with Zach and Andre talking geek

******* I’d like to thank Donald Roach and the Mendel staff, Marie Lannoo and Sean Weisgerber, Tammi Campbell, and Zachary Logan for being terrific hosts and sharing with us. Yesterday was inspiring to meet, learn from and gain helpful advice from amazing artists in our YXE art community. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! 😀 *****************************

– D