This past Sunday I had the privilege of being a guest in the home of local artist Christina Gouthro. Christina’s work was recently chosen to be featured in a Municipal promotional campaign to highlight local visual art talents. You may have received her work in the mail – the Municipality mailed out 19,000 copies of Christina’s work in the form of a bookmark (see the below image).
Christina is a local woman who like many has returned to Fort McMurray after having lived away for several years. Her art practice has been given the time and space to develop over the last two years here at her home studio in Abasand. A self proclaimed creative type, Christina acknowledges that she’s always wanted to make art. “It felt so good to just paint, that first stroke of the brush against canvas was amazing” she expressed a sense of liberation when she finally allowed herself to “just paint” after years of being in school for other studies. I love hearing about this sense of rekindled ownership of personal creativity. So many individuals out there of all ages, genders and cultures feel that art is not a valid vocation, and insist of telling others to find other forms of expression or work. This is such a huge disservice in my opinion. People all over the world make art as their primary income, and many more create just for themselves – both of which are valid practices. If you ever wanted to make art, please give it a try! Maybe it’s not paint, but instead its sculpting, drawing, sewing, pottery or printing; all these mediums are valid sources of expression and enjoyment. It is never a bad idea to use art as an outlet for creativity and self expression – even if it never gets shown to anyone just do it for you!
Above Image : Here Christina works in natural light
Above Image This lamp gave the image of Christina's work that we used for the bookmark its colour, as you can see in last image in this post the original work is black and white.
Oh my, sorry for the tangent lets get back on track shall we. Christina welcomed us (myself, my supervisor – Leigh, and Municipal Photographer Paul) into her home with a smile and the promise of hot tea. She showed us a few of her works that were up around her house, and then to her studio. There were three wet paintings on the wall which Christina was currently working on. Part of Christian’s practice is to reinvent a canvas with new images time and time again. She stated that the works we saw on the walls had been and would be many other things before she finished. Continuously enamoured with the human figure her most recent works explore hands and arms. The three in progress works feature arms hanging from or griping to string. I can’t say they are particularly cheery pieces but the rich colours and lush applications certainly captivate and intrigue the audience. The deep reds, blues and purples present an evident connection to blood, bruising and skin. I would say that these works are a natural progression from Christina’s earlier figurative work which appears to have less definition and volume. She often handled her previous subjects in a sepia colour scheme or with pallid skin tones. Christina has introduced many new colours and brush marks which provide texture, tone and depth to her works. I am very excited to see where these works end up. I forgot to mention it to her on Sunday but I think Christina would very much enjoy the application of paint by Jenny Saville. Keep in mind however if you look up this artist, her subject mater is not for the weak stomached, in fact I would say that viewer discretion is advised.
From Left to Right: Christina Gouthro, Connor Buchanan, Leigh Aggozino-Organ
Note in the top left corner, the original image of 'Residencia en la Tierra' painting
I have to say that meeting Christina was a real pleasure. As we stood in her studio the conversation within the group was effortless, she had the ability to make me feel like we were all old friends catching up over tea. Thank you for having us in your home and studio Christina! It was very nice to get to speak with you face to face. I hope that your practice continues to grow and that we get to see many more of your works around town.
And last but not least congratulations again on having your work in the inaugural exhibition at the MacDonald Island Community Gallery. If you readers haven’t had the chance to stop into the Gallery located on the second floor of the Suncor Leisure Center I strongly suggest you check it out – you will not regret it.