As adults there are few opportunities to travel back to the age of innocence when we stared at the sky and got lost in the endless shapes of clouds. Thankfully there’s an artist in St. Albert who has come up with a lovely series that gives that gift back to us.
Although she has been a part of a few collaborative exhibits lately, it’s been more than a year since Carol Johnson had her own show at Studio Gallery. Comparing this exhibit to the last one, it is obvious she prefers to keep her eyes on the skies. That display featured painted images from the Hubble space telescope. This time around she stays closer to terra firma but still has her head in the clouds.
Brush the Sky is one of those shows you have to witness to understand why it’s so fantastic. To tell you that it is just a bunch of pictures of clouds would be a huge disservice, although that is what you will see. If you have forgotten to lose yourself in the random and ever-changing shapes and textures of cotton ball cumulonimbus then Johnson can show you what you’re missing.
Intentionally omitting all visual cues that reference the earth itself, she takes you on a flight like Superman toting Lois Lane around.
“Everybody relates to them on a personal level,” she explains, talking about the Rorschach blot test where people see different things in the same clouds. What makes her work unique is that she doesn’t necessarily paint from the common ground-based perspective. Frankly, it looks like you’re up in the air already. She said this is an enhanced way to get people to look closer at what we don’t see or have just plain forgotten to look at. It’s a total immersion experience but for her it was meditative and spiritual.
“The process of producing these paintings took me to a place of calm and quiet at a time when life was anything but predictable. With every brush stroke I was removed from the day-to-day concerns, high above the cares of the world.”
There really is a lot of benefit for both the artist and audience in works such as these. It’s interesting to think about how figurative these formless shapes can be, how they can have personalities just in colour, shape and texture. They seem abstract but are just the opposite. There’s a lot going on in these images and the show is a soothing place to lose yourself for an hour. I can only imagine what ethereal views Johnson will tackle next.
Brush the Sky
Works by Carol Johnson<br />Show runs until March 27<br />Studio Gallery<br />11 Perron Street<br />call 780-460-5993 for more information