Red Ochre exhibit features artistâs work in group show
âGrapefruit on Plateâ âSubmitted image
Visual artist Jessica Scott paints with a fantastic vocabulary, a blend of natural forms and otherworldly scenes. For example, one of her works in Red Ochreâs âAnother Winterâs Eve,â its upcoming group show, is âNautilus Tree.â
This is an intricately lined, vivid green spiralling fiddlehead with tiny human figures at its roots and puffy pink blossoms at its tips. Such surprising, unexpected configurations fall under surrealism, a genre that has a specific political and psychological genesis but has broadened to include this kind of daring, shape-shifting play. It presents a realm all its own.
Thatâs no accident. Scott first turned to art as an escape from her ârockyâ upbringing. âI would hide in my room and sketch animals and angels. I never stopped drawing, and I started painting when I was 10 â tigers, the odd horse.â
This developed into an accomplished portfolio, but, surprisingly, Scott never formally studied art. She is self-taught, and admires the work of Dali, Jacek Yerka (Poland), and Alex Grey (the US). âI did meet Robert Bateman and had one conversation with him. He told me to paint dark to light. That was wicked advice.â
She did earn a degree, from Carleton, but it is in biology. Thatâs where âI learned a lot of my theories, about energy, and quantum physics.â
Philosophies of physical phenomena donât always come up during discussions about painting, but thatâs very much part of the way Scott thinks and creates. She finds the idea of all forms being composed of particles, which in turn are all connected, intriguing. In one sense it explains her metamorphic subjects, where no one thing is ever just itself. They alter, and are imbued as concepts and symbols. And while such theoretically based work could be dry and inaccessible, Scottâs pieces are full of invitation and vitality.
Such qualities are also very much a part of her mindset. âAnother theory I believe is that you can control your life, based on how your mind works. Itâs the laws of attraction.â Positive attracts positive; negative garners negative.
Scottâs works in âAnother Winterâs Eveâ are all acrylic on canvas and masonite â âitâs not easy to take your time with acrylic, acrylic can be like a race: Donât dry! Donât dry!â â and all within the past two years.
They include âPerceptionâ, with its teardrops and globes and coils and tendrils, which âis about how humans process what they see,â Scott explained. âThey need matching patterns. So, could they not see something if they had never learned about it? Itâs a deconstructive process. There could be so much more out there.â
All her works have a propulsion of imagery. The central forms often flow or thrust upwards, studded with smaller objects, like a beetle (representing the beauty of nature), or accompanied by birds (for peace and freedom).
Scott starts out with a sketch from an idea or âa question or image in my head. It could be anything â a tree on a golf course,â she says.
âWhile I am painting some things are added in that my mind will work up. And I add ideas about focusing on nature, and being mindful of the Earth. And keeping thoughts positive.â
Perhaps to this end she employs an optimistic palette, bright and pretty with lots of red, yellow, orange, and green, âwhich is my favourite colour.â She usually works on three paintings at a time, and paints every day, as much as nine hours. A work might take a week or a month or longer to complete.
As she paints without the picture set out before her, is she ever surprised by what happens? âSometimes. A large painting can be an entity in itself. And the painting itself can be a relief, as well as intense.â
Sheâs currently working on a painting 4 ft x 6 ft.
(For more on Scottâs work, please see crazytreegallery.com.)
The group show also includes Vesilina Tomovaâs mixed media on paper; Vesselaâs Brakalovaâs mosaics; some still lifes from Renee Butler; more of Sheila Hollanderâs detailed and researched history paintings; landscape paintings from Sylvia Bendzsa; and prints from Elena Popova.
âAnother Winterâs Eve â The Warmth of Fine Artâ continues at the Red Ochre Gallery until the end of December.