Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gillian Redwood "Energetic Universe" by Kate Cino

Gillian’s artwork is informed by periods of work and study in creative meccas around the world. The intrepid traveller has rented a studio/gallery in St Ives Cornwall, facilitated community art projects in Wales, studied Polynesian culture in Hawaii, and lived for ten months in Italy. Before moving to Victoria in 2012 with her partner, Gillian operated a studio/gallery in Nakusp, north of Nelson BC. She currently has a working studio in Xchanges Gallery & Studios in Victoria.

The artist uses dynamic line and brush work to express the inner essence of forms. She is fascinated by the science of optics and behaviour of light on a molecular level. Sketching with pastels first, she brings together various elements in the final painting. “I work quickly and in short bursts, she says, “usually covering the entire canvas in one session.” Adding layers of colour changes the shape and density of existing forms.

THE FOUR by Gillian Redwood, acrylic on canvas, 46x57in. 2014. 

The first work completed in the Energetic Universe series ‘The Four’ describes communication through movement and gesture. Four semi-transparent bodies are silhouetted on a dark ground. The spiraling gold lines represent streams of energy from the cosmos. Some of the particles become “embodied” while others cascade on through space.

MYSTIC by Gillian Redwood, acrylic on canvas, 46x57 in. 2014.

In Mystic the figures are reduced to elemental shapes, with no shimmering energy apparent. The artist uses a large palette knife and sweeping gestural strokes to capture the vitality of the silhouetted forms. Bold rusty-reds with blue-gray accents hover over a greenish-gold ground.

PIQUOIA by Gillian Redwood, acrylic on canvas, 46x57 in.
In Piquoia “The crouching figure isn’t a real person,” says Gillian, “but a mythical symbol of strength and energy.” The figure is coiled like a spring ready for action, propelled by the vigorous diagonal flow of the composition. Bold lines in strong hues give a dynamic outline to the primal power source.

TERRA FERMA by Redwood, acrylic on canvas, 46x54 in. 2014.
Terra Ferma is latin for “solid earth”. Gillian’s daughter and son-in-law live in Liguria, Italy, a rugged region between sea and mountains. Recently, Gillian helped them plant winter crops. Bent bodies and sharp tools suggest physical exertion, as the figures strain to reclaim the terraced hillside. “The work is hard and weather unpredictable,” she comments, “but the area is beautiful with chestnut forests on the higher slopes.”


BLUE HOST by Gillian Redwood, acrylic on canvas 46x57 in. 2014.

Blue Host’s background of shimmering aqua hues suggest both celestial and oceanic elements. The transparent figural forms are boldly sketched with calligraphic strokes. Charged particles (lines and droplets) and rhythmic golden spirals enliven the two delicate figures. “We now intuit that all life forms are imbued with spirit,” she says. “Our age longs for a true connection to this soul-source and a path to renewal.”


While vacationing in Italy, Gillian made sketches of sunbathers. “Many people still smoke in public places,” she says, “and this woman is relaxing on the beach with a cigarette.” The painting exudes warmth and contentment through a soft sandy palette, chunky rounded forms and informal gestures. The woman rests one hand on the sand, while smoke curls from the other. Balance and harmony prevail in the repeated simplified forms and broad swaths of ochre paint.

Energetic Universe exhibit
Martin Batchelor Gallery
Feb. 7 to March 5, 2015

Kate Cino
Art Openings

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