New Year, New Blog

Hi all. For my first post of 2018, and my first post in a while, I wanted to start with a recap of the past year, and then introduce a few changes for the next year, specifically involving this blog:

I started this blog November 4th of 2016, a little over a year ago. In the past year I have learned that regularly posting articles to a blog in a journalistic fashion is really not for me. When I have the time, I am stretching for things to talk about. When I have a lot going on to talk about, I don’t have much time for blogging, or for going through reams of spam searching for legit comments before I write anything.

I debated scrapping the blog altogether, however I still think it could serve a purpose. My paintings typically contain a lot of references and background material. If you know that context, it really adds to the viewers appreciation of the artwork. I am often told that I should be posting that information with the art when it is on display. So the main focus of this blog for the next year will be to write about the contextual information for each piece. I will link back and forth between the blog and the art on the website, for those that want the ‘full story’.

This is a rather big project, so I would not expect every piece to have documentation right away. I’ll continue to post articles throughout the year, generally on Fridays, though it will likely be irregular.

In addition to this, I will still include project updates and show or event announcements as they occur. Thanks for staying on the adventure with me!

Debbie.lee

Coming to VASA! Mystical Magical Fantasy.

Upcoming Show:

I am happy to announce that I will have three artworks in an upcoming group show, Mystical Magical Fantasy, at the Visual Arts Studio Association in St. Albert Alberta.

The show runs Tuesday October 3rd to Saturday October 28th 2017. Opening reception Thursday October 5th, 6-9pm. Visit the VASA website for address and other details as they become available.

Artist Statement:

The Fun Money Series of paintings are part of an exploration of the cultural significance of money and the ways that we learn in childhood to think about money through fantasy, play, and story.

I incorporate coin shaped foil candy wrappers into the paintings to create fantasy worlds in which the main actors, represented by plastic figurines, interact with the coins in different ways.

Much like the foil wrappers themselves, the innocent, shiny prettiness of the paintings belie messages that are being delivered to the individuals consuming them. The wrappers are interesting devices that teach children about money, being attractive containers representing the potential for pleasurable experiences contained within.

Life Line
12 x 12 A/C
Castle in the Sky
12 x 12 A/C

Fun Money: Castle in the Sky and Fun Money: Life Line represent the ways in which money can function, or be seen to function, in adult life, through enabling one to realize their fantasies, or to stay afloat while reaching for goals and building dreams.

Video Games, also, often use a coin based reward system to provide benefits to players which will help them complete their game successfully. The way coins are collected, as a reward for various actions, teach children that the getting of money is a matter of faith in the system as well as skill, persistence and effort. As they put their characters through obstacle courses that challenge their dexterity and problem solving skills in repeated attempts to capture all the coins, they learn that these are the ways they will be asked to function in a competitive adult world.

Leap of Faith
12 x 12 A/C

While Fun Money (Video Games): There’s Got To Be A Way (not pictured, not in the show, but click here to see more of the Fun Money series) explores the character’s faith in their ability to make seemingly impossible aerial acrobatics to collect all of the coins, Fun Money (Video Games): Leap of Faith looks at that moment where the character can see opportunity, but not the outcome of the leap to take advantage of the opportunity. Is the landing safe? We don’t know. The child playing the game learns faith in the system (that it can be done or it wouldn’t have been placed in such a way), but that faith may not necessarily be well placed in the real world.

Final week to see I AM CANADIAN !

Hi All! It is the final week to see I am Canadian at the Edge Gallery in Calgary’s historic Inglewood neighbourhood. Make sure you check out all the fantastic work on display, and remember, it IS for sale! Gallery hours are 10 – 5:30 Tuesday through Friday and 10 – 5:00 on Saturdays.


Below I am posting my artist statement with images of the pieces in the show:

Finding a Dance Partner
16 x 20 O/C
Salvation
16 x 20 O/C
The New Homeland
16 x 20 O/C
A Level Playing Field
16 x 20 O/C
Spirit Wrestlers
16 x 20 O/C
Land of Fairytale Abundance
16 x 20 O/C
A Matter of Life & Death
16 x 20 O/C

The Canada West series are paintings revisiting early 20th century Canadian immigration posters that were intended to encourage immigration to the Canadian West. Each painting interprets the source image through juxtaposition, modification, or both. Through examining the cultural artefacts of Canada’s attitudes to, and experiences with, immigration from the early part of the last century, I encourage a long range view on the impact of contemporary immigration concerns on Canada’s future culture.

The New Homeland places the figure of the original poster in front of a floating field of the flags of some of the major immigrant groups of that time to western Canada, including (in no particular order) France, Romania, Belgium, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the Ukraine, Russia and Scandinavia.

Salvation comments on the perception, versus the reality, of immigration to Canada by groups escaping poverty, oppression and famine, who then faced the challenge of homesteading unbroken land.

Finding a Dance Partner is interested in the controversy of ‘Surplus Women” in Britain. A gender imbalance if favour of females led to concerns that women unable to marry would fall into poverty. At the same time, a majority of males immigrating to Canada had officials looking for women to immigrate as domestics, hopefully to start families, thus ‘civilizing’ the west.

A Level Playing Field is based on a poster circulated in the United States of America, at about the time the board game Monopoly was invented.

The Spirit Wrestlers engages the history of the Russian religious exiles, the Doukhobors, and their (at the time) radical beliefs of communal living, pacifism and vegetarianism, in Canada.

A Matter of Life and Death challenges the racial stereotype of the white settler through altering the image to speak about immigration by Americans escaping discriminatory laws and race based violence in the United States of America.

Land of Fairytale Abundance is interested in the reasons for and cultural impact of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.

 

Getting the New Western Gallery on to the Website

I have just added a new western art gallery to my website. Included in the gallery is the painting featured in my last post, and I will be talking about some of the others more in depth as we go along. The images are not super high quality yet, the captions are short, and the design does not line up with the other galleries either, but it is there. Adding it required changes to all of the other pages, and will also require further changes, but one could spend all week on updating and never get into the studio! The other side of my new years resolution is spending the afternoon in the studio, so what it is really about is achieving balance between office and studio so I am neither binging on one nor neglecting the other. So, even though it is super difficult to break focus and move to another task, that is it for website stuff today. This afternoon I will be working on a still life painting of fruitcake. In the mean time, take a quick peek at the new gallery, and check back in a week or so to see what has changed, I am sure you will enjoy!