Monday September 01, 2014

Show sets woman against unusual landscapes

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A traveling exhibition is now hanging in the pARTners Art Gallery in the Yorkton Public Library.

The exhibit 'Garden Immaculate' is a touring exhibition sponsored by OSAC.

"I submitted a proposal for a solo show after being selected at a local adjudication," explained North Dakota-born artist Lindsay Arnold. "The work will tour Saskatchewan until the end of September 2015."

'Garden Immaculate' is a series of drawings depicting a woman in a curious landscape. They are ink and watercolour on paper. I made them over the course of two years - from 2011-2012.

"I was inspired to make the work after looking through a collection of magazines from the 1940's and 50's," said Arnold who now lives in North Portal. She became a Canadian citizen in 1992. "I liked the images of women vacuuming, cleaning and performing other domestic tasks while looking absolutely fabulous in dresses and heels. I paused to consider how much energy we expend on controlling our environments, especially nature. This lead me to think about how much we repress our own animal impulses as well, forcing ourselves to look a certain way that is unnatural and often uncomfortable. "I decided to develop a female character that was endeavoring to create a very safe, sterile, and perfect garden. In each drawing she is forcing her will upon her environment. The atmosphere is pale and soft and at first glance, everything looks controlled. However, upon second glance the viewer may notice the tension between the woman and her surroundings. Little mysteries present themselves, leading to questions about who or what is really in control.

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"The drawings are my way of calling attention to the human quest for perfection or the perception thereof."

Arnold said art has always been something which has appealed to her.

"I have always been a creative person," she said. "I was the kid in school that could draw really well. I also studied piano for many years and was active in drama. I was never much of an athlete. I graduated with honours from SAIT's Broadcast Journalism program, so writing is also an important aspect of my creative life."

From that Arnold's interest narrowed to art.

"Visual art is my focus," she said. "I like to use it as a way to communicate my observations on human behavior."

To define her art Arnold has trained. She completed one year of a BFA at Minot State University, adding she has "also participated in mentorships with professional artists.

"I really enjoy working one-on-one with other artists."

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Creating art can be a many faceted path, but Arnold has found one which currently holds her attention most.

"I like to draw," she said. "Right now I am using black ink with either a brush or a dip pen. I love its simplicity. Ink allows me to transfer the image from my mind to the paper in a very short period of time."

In transferring her inner visions to the visual page, Arnold wants to tell something which goes beyond the basic image.

"I like to make narrative works - ones that tell a story," she said. "My work could be described as visual fairy tales."

Like most, Arnold is inspired, at least in part, by others.

"I love the work of Edward Gorey as it combines drawings and text in a rather dark and humorous way," she said. "I like to research female artists that worked in a surrealist manner, such as Frida Kahlo and Dorothea Tanning.

"I also get inspiration from my artist friends, especially those in the Visions Art Guild, a group of artists in the Estevan area."

Arnold said she does try to work on her art regularly.

"I try to keep a daily art practice," she said. "I finish a series of drawings about every two years.

"I am also a full-time Mom, part-time Village Administrator, and much more, so it can be a challenge to keep enough time dedicated to my work."

Arnold then added, "art is my soul's work. It is definitely more than a hobby."

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