There’s an ebb and flow to the current show at the Quesnel Art Gallery. Judith DesBrisay’s retrospective exhibit, Now and Then is a smattering of work over the artist’s last three decades depicting the creative influences which inspire her work.
The work expresses bold, inventive images along side subtle, deeply introspective pieces all with common forms, manipulated in different ways.
However, for DesBrisay, the work expresses how she processes the world around her, wherever that may be.
“My works emerge from a fascination with the earth in all its forms,” she said.
“They reference the vital interplay of person and place.”
To truly gain an understanding of the imagery, the viewer needs to begin a dialogue, if not with the artist, then with the work she has created. In every one of the 15 pieces there’s a message, some muted, some obvious.
As the viewer wanders from canvas to canvas, they need to gauge first, their emotional reaction to each one. “Do I like it, does it say anything to me?”
It’s then possible to dig a little deeper, analyze what is creating the emotion and consider the possible message from the artist.
DesBrisay has traveled extensively in Canada’s High Arctic, South America and Antarctica. She feels trepidation for the future of the polar regions and consequentially for the planet. This is evident in her work.
But her passion for her wilderness home near Quesnel is also a source of great joy and inspiration, as are the people she’s met in her travels.
DesBrisay’s thoughtful process of observing, recording, drawing, researching, planning and actually creating the pieces leads to art works that highlight her interest in the interconnectedness of person and place. Her works, whether contemplative or vigorous, weave a simple narrative.
The first piece the viewer encounters upon entering the gallery is titled First Born. It embodies the shapes, textures, details and passion emanating from the artist, setting the tone for the viewer’s journey around the room.
The show, sponsored by Richbar Nursery and Dunkley Lumber, hangs in the Quesnel Art Gallery until June 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“Change is constant in my life and my works of art. If, now and then, viewers discern some of my passion in the midst of these changes, then my efforts will have been worthwhile.”