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"The Heart of Summer"
Jamie Evrard, "The Heart of Summer", 2014, oil on canvas, 60" x 60".
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Jamie Evrard, "Summer’s Drift", 2014, oil on canvas, 58" x 48".
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"Queen of Hearts"
Jamie Evrard, "Queen of Hearts", 2014, oil on panel, 48" x 48".
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"Big White Peony"
Jamie Evrard, "Big White Peony", 2014, oil on panel, 48" x 48".
By Portia Priegert
Jamie Evrard is out in her garden in Vancouver picking raspberries. She should be in her studio preparing for her upcoming show, Al Fresco, she says, but one gets the sense that sunshine and fresh air have conspired to lure her from her work.
Evrard has built a 30-year career around flowers. “I hate the word floral,” she says with disarming candour. “It sounds so old-lady.” Indeed, in the more cerebral precincts of contemporary art, florals are typically dismissed as mere decoration. Still, Evrard’s free-spirited touch with buttery oils seems as much a response to one of art’s great themes – the passage of time – as to sensual pleasure.
Evrard, who was born in Wisconsin and earned two Master’s degrees from the University of Iowa, spends two months each fall and spring at her second home in Tuscany, relishing the solitude and slower pace, as well as the beauty of the region’s shops and gardens. “When you go to the market, they haven’t ripped all the leaves off all the fruit,” she says. “I can get artichokes with their stalks. People have beautiful flowers in their gardens. Everything is not so tidy and manicured.”
Her paintings have a delightful looseness that captures something of the abundance and wildness of nature. “For me, they’re just an excuse to make coloured marks,” she says. “And they come in lots of colours and lots of shapes. That’s why I like them.”
Evrard’s latest series is bolder and less representational. Nestled in the sweet spot between ripeness and decay, her aromatic brushwork takes centre stage. But she says every painting is a two-way dialogue. “When you paint, the thing talks back to you. It surprises you.”
Jamie Evrard’s show runs Nov. 1 to Nov. 13 at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver. She is also represented by the Burgera Matheson Gallery in Edmonton. Her work sells for $4,000 to $8,000.