Expressive Arts students explore trust and learn to dance

May 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Life is a dance.

Not ballet, not jazz, not anything choreographed.

It is movement and expression; occasionally, it is stillness.

Today, the Expressive Arts students learned to dance with new partners.

Their journey began, blindfolded, following their peers down an unseen path, with nothing but a branch of wood between them, connecting them. It was an exercise in trust: trusting each other, trusting their senses, trusting in their movements and the motions that connected them together.

Once in the woods, they were asked to breathe in the air, hear, feel, and sense their surroundings. Only after they shared this moment of sightlessness were they allowed to remove their blindfolds.

The next step of their task was to find a new dancing partner: find a tree that they could connect with, understand the movements of, and share a dance with. Not a waltz, nor a foxtrot. But, create a journey with, understand what it was to be that tree…

For many of the students, it was a journey with great rewards; for others, it brought them to a new awareness of self, and of surroundings.

For more information on the Expressive Arts Program at HSTA, please go to our website www.hsta.ca

Artist of the Week – Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman

May 17, 2012 § 11 Comments

Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman

“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” Desmond Tutu, on ubuntu

Her eyes, even in the most dim conditions, seem to sparkle with an inner light. They dance, they laugh, they sing. She possesses one of those rare and pure gazes that has the ability of seeing right into a person. It is not invasive or unwelcome; you simply get the feeling that she wants to connect, to share stories and emotions, to bridge that part of all of us that keeps us apart: space.

The many years that Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman has spent in selfless service, being involved in missions from an early age in Asia and Europe, becoming an elementary teacher and  a professor, then using those skills as the president of a Christian humanitarian organization working in parts of Africa and the Caribbean to improve education for children, have served to shape both her and her outlook on life.

Some might argue that pulling away from those efforts, giving it all up to create art, well, it might seem a hair… selfish. Until, upon seeing her creations, you realize that she is undoubtedly doing the world a greater service by becoming an artist.

“My aim is to evoke universal emotions in the viewer that will encourage him or her to tap into the spirit of “Ubuntu”:  what it means to be truly human – “to be wrapped up in the bundle of life”,” she writes.  “I have become profoundly aware of how interconnected we are – with each other and with nature. Art is a vehicle through which I can explore and honour that.”

There is unquestionably in all of her artwork a touch of the whimsical, a hint of fancy. But when you actually look at her work, you will find countless other attributes that are nuanced and revealed with such subtlety and nobility, that you will wonder why it has taken Jennifer so long to share her inner-artist with us.

Her mixed-media pieces are liable to be made of nearly anything from metal and wood to glass and eggshells. The juxtaposition of these materials is equally as stunning as the work themselves: on the one hand there is a feeling of permanence, a sense of longevity and durability; yet, the organic materials incorporated flawlessly into the work reveal a fragility and offer the distinct impression that the function of everything on earth is ephemeral, merely awaiting its next stage where it will be re-purposed and given a new task.

Of all of her pieces, each one unique with no duplications, perhaps one of the most striking and powerful is that titled Offering. Made of river stones, burlap, concrete, branches, and metal it depicts a woman kneeling with her arms raised, hands in a gesture of giving, and face tilted toward the heavens. When looking at it, you’re struck by an overwhelming sense of power; there is no surrender in her offer, no weakness. The woman is offering herself, as she is – heart, body, mind, and soul – to a greater power, and in this way shows her vulnerability as well. There is no weakness, true, but in offering everything she has to give, there is without question a sense of vulnerability: what if her offering is refused?

       

Jennifer cast various pieces of herself for the project: hands, feet, face, torso, buttocks. And, while it was a very emotional piece to create due to its symbolic connections with the artist’s own beliefs, the sculpture itself maps out beautifully what it means to truly be a woman: strength and sacrifice.

And, what it takes to be human: courage and hope.

We can’t wait to see what Jennifer creates next. She has been recognized by the college not only for her exceptional work but also her consistently positive outlook on life, and will be the valedictorian for this year’s graduating class. Jennifer was also recently nominated for the BMO Student Art Competition and our fingers are crossed for her!

For more information about Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman, please contact her by email at jwilsonbridgman@sympatico.ca or by phone at 905-730-8839 . Her website will be coming soon!

picture of jennifer wilson-bridgman

Jen, doing teacher development training in Kenya, makes friends with a couple of “orphelines”…

Artist of the Week – Angie Quick

February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ecstasy. Religiosity. Passion.

Angie Quick

Angie Quick can tell you all about bold: colour, shape, size. Both in painting and glassblowing, her art is anything but timid. Best of all, she has found a way to reconcile both mediums, allowing her glassblowing pieces to appear as characters in her paintings, and likewise infusing imagery  from her paintings on the blown glass. Many of her works invoke the breathtaking scenery of her sojourn at the  Haliburton School of the Arts, as well as the organic and spontaneous nature of the Earth.

Art is the endeavour to carnalize religion; it is the deification of man’s purpose. My art feasts on the will to live; the divine passion of being.  The art is enshrined by the idea that the soul must devour itself to purify the meaning:  art is the life. Painting is the extension of the ideal.

My works deal in an encyclopedia of symbolism:  beautiful women, an excess of flora, fabric, and a good deal of coupling. I highlight moments of aspiration representing the ascendency of spirit. This is shown through the depiction of ritual, through religiosity without structure incarnated by pattern and rhythm. It is a marriage of logic and faith, wild passion within structured domains, and a straight line decomposing into reckless ecstasy.

I mainly work with oil paint on a large scale, as well as blown glass vessels that are later painted. My paintings and sculptures depict the curvature of form and awareness that the body is majestic; the flesh is contrasted with ornate fabric. With wild strokes I explore the depths of ecstasy. I create visions of life through imbibed eyes, spilling out a body of work consisting in large oil paintings, sculptures and painted vessels. My glass vessels echo my paintings through imagery and the use of luminous primary colours.

Ultimately, my art represents the feelings of unity, rhythm, and a revelation of the seemingly disjointed becoming one.

Angie Quick

Angie can be seen as part of the upcoming group show called “Eclectic”, at The ARTS Project London, Ontario, from February 21-March 3 2012.

She can be reached via email at angievquick@gmail.com or through her website angievquick.com

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