Kristin Bjornerud, "Sanctuary," watercolour and gouache on paper, 38" X 64", 2010.
May 1 to 31, Gallery Jones, Vancouver
BY: Janet Nicol
Kristin Bjornerud’s aim is “to create paintings that are short stories, personal narratives told through the lens of folktales, dreams, and magical realism.” One such work is The Father’s House, an ethereal painting of a rambling wooden house on the precipice of a cliff, its fate in the hands of a group of young women. “I often use images from dreams as springboards for ideas, and with the house I find I’m attracted to the darker, hidden aspects of it,” Bjornerud says. “For me, the house is a wonderfully rich symbol full of contradictions and narrative possibilities. It can be read at once as a domestic space, a shelter, a sanctuary or a prison.” As for the female figures, the artist says they’re “taking control of the symbol” as well as an act of solidarity and a small rebellion. “It’s destructive, but it’s also a joyful act, at least for some of the characters.” Bjornerud’s watercolours evoke a variety of reactions. “Some stories can have very little in the way of action,” she points out, “but are powerful nonetheless because they stir up an emotion or memory. That’s what I’am striving toward.” She talks about leaving certain ambiguity in the work to invite conversation with the viewer. “It would be quite boring if we all read images the same way.”