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  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
    View notice

  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
    View notice

  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
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  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
    View notice

  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
    View notice

  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
    View notice

  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
    View notice

  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
    View notice

  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
    View notice

  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
    View notice

  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
    View notice

  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
    View notice

  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
    View notice

  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
    View notice

  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
    View notice

  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
    View notice

  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
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  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
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Jessie Homer French: New Paintings at Winchester Galleries

By Robert Amos August 5, 2004

} Jessie Homer French: New Paintings at Winchester Galleries By Robert Amos 2260 Oak Bay Avenue, 595-2777, until July 31 www.winchestergalleriesltd.com Let’s start with a picture called Country Road, which shows a wayside cross. Not an antique cross outside a quaint Britanny village, but one of those humble ones which now dot our highways. Jessie Homer French painted this, with a straightforwardness that we associate with folk art. There’s no irony in her presentation of a subject drenched in emotional resonance. Country Road, oil on canvas by Jessie Homer French Above the cross, black leafless branches reach up from silhouetted trees - are these the fingers of death? This memorial cross, and the mementoes gathered at its base, speak of the continuation of life. French’s picture is simple on the surface, while our strongest experiences flow beneath it in a powerful undercurrent. The paintings of Jessie Homer French avoid easy resolution. Born in New York in 1940, French came as an adult to Los Angeles. There she raised a family and then retired with her husband to Victoria eight years ago. According to her, these eight have been the happiest years of her life. I’ve puzzled over her art ever since she arrived here, and have tried to understand why it fascinates me. Her paintings of fire, of fish farms, of motels and dog shows - what do they mean? French and I spent two hours talking this over in her waterfront studio recently, and I’ll share what I have learned. The current exhibit of new work features three commanding views of Gonzales Bay after sunset, oil paintings almost two metres across. “I don’t mind doing landscapes,” French told me, “as long as there’s something interesting with the light.” But, clearly, these landscapes are for people who don’t feel comfortable with what she calls “the scarier stuff”. Scary? Consider The Ghost of the Victoria Golf Links, a spectral woman who appears from the darkness against a blue sky. Or Air Light, in which a zeppelin floats at twilight over darkened houses. Or In Frozen Ground, a split level view of graves beneath the earth, and a wolf grieving above. Where is this imagery coming from? French told me she was an only child and enjoyed long spells of aloneness at her parent’s country house in upstate New York. With her dad working in the city and her mother fading away from tuberculosis and depression, the little girl was “totally free - all alone in the forest.” Adept at avoiding school, she mostly taught herself. “What do you need but wilderness and books?” she muses. French recalled a vital moment at age 3 or 4 when she discovered fishing. “I caught my first fish - in my hands, in a brook. Then I did the whole thing,” she went on, “with bent pin and a pole. I remember the exact moment, in Rice’s General Store, when I saw the sign - Eagle Claw Hooks. It was just at my eye level. That was it. I was hooked.” She has always been a “catch and release” fisherman - “no killing,” as she says. Following her passion, she has cast flies into just about every worthwhile river in the west. In the current show, her portrait of famous Cowichan River fishing guide Joe Saysell accompanies two large diagrammatic views of our local pisciculture. These, like her Fly Casting Pool painting, defy perspective. “I don’t have enough art school,” French explained. Her efforts at education were interrupted, and anyway perspective doesn’t come easy to her. Astutely, she noted that it may be “unnecessary and distracting.” She just gets on with painting out her ideas in a deliberate manner. Her style seems adequate to any challenge. A friend invited her to visit the bell tower at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. One of the resulting paintings was created in three sections. Below, the ringers toil. A long centre section is given over to the ropes. Above, the bells swing in the belfry. When I ventured that this was an odd compositional format, the artist reminded me that “above and below” is often a part of her pictures: fishing scenes with fish below the waterline, and graveyard scenes with people in coffins below the earth. French herself seems a buoyant and positive person, but she described to me dark moments of her teen years, “sitting on the train tracks on a trestle, reading Shakespeare’s sonnets and thinking of myself as Anna Karenina.” Since then, shadows have passed across her life. The death of French’s firstborn at six years of age created memories that will never be erased, even in light of her close relationships with the three children who came after. Motel Parking Lot by Moonlight, Indian Caves by a River: Jessie Homer French’s paintings are imbued with an elegiac tenderness, a warm human concern which transmutes sadness into affirmation. She can paint the sunset’s glow with an aching wistfulness. In wordless witness she has depicted the cooling towers of a nuclear cooling tower, as seen from the I-5 in Washington state. And, just as the incipient tragedy begins to loom, the imagery is leavened with levity. How else can you explain her painting of an outdoor dog show in the rain - the gay madness of wolfhounds in dog coats, their owners under umbrellas? There is a beautiful balance of contradictions built into these oils. They are well-made but home-made; straightforward though enigmatic; aware of life’s swift passage yet full of affection for every mysterious moment. There is more here than meets the eye. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com

Notice Board

SUBMIT View

Current notices

There are no notices at this time.

Today's notices

  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
    View notice

  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
    View notice

  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
    View notice

  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
    View notice

  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
    View notice

  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
    View notice

  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
    View notice

  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
    View notice

  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
    View notice

  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
    View notice

  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
    View notice

  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
    View notice

  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
    View notice

  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
    View notice

  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
    View notice

  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
    View notice

  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
    View notice

  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
    View notice

  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
    View notice

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