Words From Mountain Galleries
This is the second time Mountain Galleries has partnered with The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives to exhibit a thematic body of work by a Mountain Galleries artist. Destanne, A former Jasper local and ‘dark-sky’ painter, has spent the last 2 years exploring the universe with her brush, researching her paintings from Hubble Telescope images and other scientific materials. It only seemed fitting that an exhibition of her work should coincide with Jasper’s growing Dark Sky Festival.
Stellar: Grounded in the Dark Night Sky was originally shown in the Vernon Public Art Gallery in 2017. We are delighted to showcase the work from that exhibition, alongside seven new paintings from 2018. This cohesive body of work tackles universal themes of life, death, and our universal interconnectedness. It is the nuances of Destanne’s unique painterly approach that create a very human connection to the images depicted in Stellar.
Mountain Galleries would like to thank Destanne Norris, The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives and Tourism Jasper for their efforts. We hope this show will inspire you to consider the intricacies of our dark sky.
An Artists' Perspective
The body of paintings in this exhibition marks a shift in my painting practice. I am primarily a representational landscape painter, with forays into abstraction; this is a departure into deep space – in particular nebula and stars. My research for these paintings have been a combination of photographs captured by the Hubble Telescope, as well as my own interpretation of imagery and ideas sourced from science based books and information on the internet. What launched me into the cosmos was the final painting I made during an Artist-in- Residence project (2015).
The painting from the project entitled, Where there are no Edges?, was painted from the perspective of looking back from space over the curvature of a cloud scattered earth. It was a question into nature and the nature of our human existence. What is our universal purpose? Where are our beginnings and endings? What do we embody? According to scientists’ discoveries we are star stuff, made of cosmic dust.
Astronomers report stars are born when the pull of gravity contracts and collapses vast clouds of dust and gas - hydrogen and helium. The cycle repeats itself once a star explodes and dies, creating more interstellar gas and dust. Like a circle, that unending form which is one of the two strong shapes dominating this work; the other being the square shape of the canvas which is symbolic of the rational and the physical elements. The circle and the square paired suggest the spiritual and material, or heaven and earth.
When we see bright, twinkling dots of lights that shine bright through the darkness over unfathomable distances we are actually witnessing the past meeting the present.
Physicist, David Peat, writes in his essay, Synchronicity: The Speculum of Inscape and Landscape:
...all that exists is the present, for the present is the given of our experience. It is only from within the present that one can discover and unfold the past - as Marcel Proust well understood. And from within the present one can explore those tendencies and patterns that may lead into the future. www.fdavidpeat.com/bibliography/essays/synch.htm
For me, it’s about being present in nature, while painting, while living life’s mysteries. It’s about being curious; being ok with not knowing; being open to learning and considering different perspectives, possibilities and making new discoveries. It’s about making connections. It’s why I paint.
Artwork: Destanne Norris Photos of artwork: Ashley Duggan, Keylight Photography Testimonials: Culen, Lubos. Destanne Norris: Stellar. Vernon: Vernon Public Art Gallery, 2017, p. 2 Brennan, Katie. Destanne Norris: Stellar. Vernon: Vernon Public Art Gallery, 2017, p. 6 David Hawkins and Jerry Thompson, Written Testimonial from the President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Okanagan Chapter Writing: "An Artist’s Perspective": Destanne Norris Words from Mountain Galleries: Mountain Galleries At The Fairmont Words from the Museum: Writing by Michael Cameron - President, Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society