Paint, Paper and Flotsam: new work by JENNIFER NOXON
at General Fine Craft, 63 Mill St., Almonte
September 19 – November 5, 2017
Jennifer Noxon is well known in the Ottawa/Lanark County area for her many talents as a gifted songwriter, performer and leader of the Rhythm & Song Community Choir. The Almonte resident is an amateur beekeeper and had a previous career as an adult educator. And, if you didn’t already know, she’s also an inspired visual artist who has been exploring thematic ideas for over 30 years.
Jennifer approaches art-making with serious intent and a playful visual intellect. In past painting series, she explored abstract elements found in nature that resulted in dynamic, colourful compositions. Her 2015 series of digital paintings, entitled Almonte Riverwalk, presented beautifully rendered interpretations of iconic Almonte riverscapes.
Paint, Paper and Flotsam is an exhibition of three types of new work: small paintings on panel, found plastic constructions, and a 3-D digital print array installed across one wall of the gallery. Each series informs the other in wonderfully surprising and ironic ways.
At the core of her new show is the ‘flotsam’ series which she began two years ago. “While walking the beaches of Lake Ontario,” says Jennifer, “I picked up bits of colourful weathered and water-worn plastic. I didn’t have anything in mind at the time – but there was a certain thrill to the collection process. The bits and bobs went into my pockets and, eventually, into my studio.”
Noxon describes how, after many months of exploration, the plastic pieces evolved into constructions that tell cautionary tales. “As I played with these found pieces, I thought a lot about where they might have come from, the affect discarded plastic is having on our waterways and natural systems, and just how much we depend on plastics in all aspects of our lives. It’s an overwhelming issue and I hope the irony of my playful response is not lost on people. The bright characters tell seemingly simple, even innocent stories – yet the metaphors suggest darker tales of what could happen in the future.”
Jennifer is as poignant and sensitive in expressing her social conscience as she is when manipulating paint with brush.
Evolving from the plastic constructions, her series of acrylic on small panels depict convoluted geometric shapes with elements of landscape and her signature playful colour palette.
The plastic pieces appear again in an amazing, long array of folded paper imprinted with digital photographs. It was a creative solution to an idea she had to make a large wall piece. “I got very excited when I started scoring and folding the paper… and look forward to spending more time exploring this. I’ve always been intrigued with the place where the two dimensional meets the three dimensional.”
General Fine Craft is honoured to be unveiling this exciting new series.
Please join us for the opening and meet the artist on Thursday September 21 from 7-9pm.
ALMONTE’S MISSISSIPPI: POINTS OF VIEW
December 1-31 at General Fine Craft, Art & Design
”When preparing for this show, I took on three challenges. The first was to create work that would be ‘local’ in theme. The second was to explore a different medium. The third was to ‘do a 180’ – diverge from the abstract mode I have been exploring these past few years and return to representation. Why? These kinds of challenges are like taking a cold shower: I wake up, gain new skills, and challenge myself to new ways of seeing.
The river that runs through Almonte belongs to all of us and none of us. It is precious, and powerful. Of late, the future of Almonte’s Mississippi has been the focus of much emotion, discussion, and controversy. Though it has been difficult, it has forced the members of this community to wake up and ask ourselves what the river means to us, and what we want it to ‘look like’ in the future. Important questions. It is essential that the solution benefits the residents of Almonte for years to come.
Because I live within walking distance of the river, I engage with it on a daily basis. I have paddled and swum in its waters. Last winter I decided to paint some of the typical vistas of the river as it runs through the downtown area. As I began to take photos (in -30 degree weather!) I became more conscious of the way the Mississippi and its banks intersect with the bridges, automobiles, humans, the sky, and the architecture. If you have never stood on the railway bridge to take a ‘360 degree’ turn – it’s a must. In fact, the most impressive thing to me is that the four bridges crossing the Mississippi allow us to view the town from many different levels and angles. One can see the front of buildings from one direction, and the backs and sides of buildings from another. All kinds of materials come together along its banks; stone, metal, cement, wood, organic material, snow and ice. With the changing light and seasons, there is never a dull moment.”
- Jennifer Noxon, November 2015
This series of digital paintings were done from scratch on an iPad, with an app called Procreate, a conductive brush, and fingertips.
Printed on an Epson 9900 archival eleven-coloured (pigment) printer, lightfast for 200+ years. Printed on archival, acid free 100% cotton fine art paper.
Acrylic on canvas, various sizes: click on images to enlarge
I love everything to do with the process of creating, be it lyrics to a song, a melody, a sculpture, a painting, or a recipe. This is when I feel most alive, most vital and most connected to the world. I returned to painting ten years ago after a long hiatus in which songwriting and performing took centre stage. To ease back into the visual world, I based my paintings on photos taken on walks in the fields and forests around Almonte. Nature has always been my best teacher and primary source of inspiration.
More recently, I have been approaching canvas without a pre-conceived idea of the finished painting, relying on my visual vocabulary of organic forms and colour. I hope you will find my work quietly accessible, refreshing, and gently challenging.
Jennifer lives and works on Almonte, ON.