All that Jas
By Heather Browne
All that JAS!
JAS? Or Jazz? Or the Juried Art Salon? In fact the Salon boasted
art, words, song and an accordion to dissemble the attendees from
one venue to another on Opening Night. It was a moveable feast.
My first encounter with the Salon now in its 6th year was not to
be my last. Who remembers much, really, amid wine and dips and
interesting faces? But images linger amid all that jazz.
The fifth place winner’s entry Conversations with Time was
a must see for this art seeker. Certainly, it was as compelling
if not as distancing as I first intuited. As Laurie Sponagles’ Artist
Statement confirmed, the absence and presence of the human form
was pivotal for her. Surely in her charcoal drawing someone had
just left the room and the chair longed for a return.
The Wilson Room conveniently had St. George’s Cathedral
dome for a backdrop. To its right Passion displayed itself— Jan
Swaren’s Number 1075. Her acrylic on canvas flooded with
flower, calyx, and leafing. Her artist’s statement read “born
in France, educated in Canada” and concluded that Jan was
studying the undulating movements of light. Was it poetic narcissism
that attracted me? Was I looking for a “meeting of minds?” And
how could one revel in this semi- abstract, pastel movement as
readily as in Sponagle’s exquisitely anchored charcoal chair?
Let me say I was quickly developing empathy for the judges Sylvat
Aziz and Shayne Dark. Fortunately for me they had awarded (and
studied) the paintings Joyful Darkness and Differences as
well as Lamont and Bresson’s photography. And had determined
porcelain was a great medium for Bernadette Pratt’s cobbling,
felt for Lafarge’s effigy.
My conundrum for a People’s Choice called for a lunch. When
all else fails: eat I say. So I picnicked on the table provided,
oh carefully, when a patron (and poet) introduced himself by admiring
another oil, far wall, and contributed that one could feel the
desert heat in it. Yes, I said. How else do we respond to the visual
but through the emotions? I am hot; I am cold. I feel loss, connection,
discovery, comfort, ruin. Hadn’t Jan Allen’s poetry
address mined just that query?
Hunger appeased I surveyed Love Discarded and wished to be five
inches taller so I might read easily the “beautiful (found)
love letter” on 7 five by seven inch vellum papers. Trevor
Teglas’ red paint underscored these handwritten pages. This
red bar trained my eye to notice other uses of the rectangular
(weren’t the judges wise in this placement?) One piece using
bands of earth- tone pigments elicited the greatest sense of viewing
pleasure. So Pleasure I named it. (My program in hand reveals no
title by this name, so I must return to verify the sensation, the
(Too much Jazz at the JAS one has to ask?)
Across from the Library Sally Chupick was setting up easel and
board. She was taking some sun and directed me upstairs to Kingston
Art Council gallery. I was there to rediscover a black sculpture
with recesses of cobalt blue by Hanna Back. How it had invited
my hand! But what was my attraction to this award winner?
I felt it has something to do with memory.
CBC Radio recounted this week that the human mind is bent on forgetting.
This human trait is due to the way we are wired for memory the
narrator said. His thesis was that Google holds our memories for
a very long time, distorting our sense of the very limited human
capacity to remember. Hanna Back’s form jogged my memory.
Surely I was recalling a personal place, a locale studying The
Blue Within. I was as held by this work as birds must be when using
light and dark geographic landscape formations for marking their
When I left, Sally’s painting included Saint George’s
dome. Did she have work in the JAS also I asked? AEmilia the
Brave she said. Immediately I saw the sun-loving Ameila.
Art is visual
and the jazz comes after the fact.
Heather Browne is a published poet and short story writer from
New Brunswick who has recently settled in the Kingston area. She
finds art is instructive in understanding her own work. Her most
is The David
King David’s time as well as our present time.