Stellar: Grounded in the Dark Night Sky an exhibition of work by destanne norris

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"...Norris produced a body of work which in essence contemplates the universal phenomena of beginning, and ending transposed on the psychological impacts of human concepts and understanding of birth, life and death." - Lubos Culen, Curator Vernon Public Art Gallery

Words From The Museum

The Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives in collaboration with Mountain Galleries is pleased and excited to have the privilege of displaying the most recent works of a former Jasper resident, Destanne Norris. Destanne’s exhibition “Stellar: Grounded in the Dark Night Sky" coincides with Jasper’s annual Dark Sky Festival. Her paintings of fields of stars and luminous nebulas invoke the viewer to contemplate the relationship between the cycle of life on earth and the phenomena of cosmic events. Events, that were never before available for us to view until the advent of the Hubble Telescope and its ability to look back in time. Destanne has used her natural artistic talent, personal life experiences and a sprinkling of cosmic dust to create a collection of beautiful pictures that provide an insight into deep space that everyone can experience and enjoy. We are delighted that Destanne has decided to return to Jasper to share her talents and experiences with us through her artwork. - Michael Cameron, President Jasper Yellowhead Historical Society

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).

Where There Are No Edges? 2015, oil on canvas (quadriptych) 24” x 18” each

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.


"Destanne was able to meld science with art to show us there is a commonality and harmony... each of the works displayed Hubble telescope views of the beauty of our universe in a manner most people had never seen." - David Hawkins and Jerry Thompson for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
"According to scientists’ discoveries we are star stuff, made of cosmic dust." - Destanne Norris
Birthing (Orion Nebula), Oil on Canvas, 72" x 72", 2017
Star Breath (Bubble Nebula), 72" x 72", oil on canvas, 2017
Shell of Dying (Cat Eye Nebula), 72" x 72", Oil on Canvas, 2017
Returning Again and Again and Again (Boomerang Nebula), oil on canvas. 72" x 72", 2017
Behind the Veil (Veil Nebula), 2018 Destanne Norris 72” x 72” Oil on Canvas
Transformed (Butterfly Nebula), 2018 Destanne Norris 48” x 48” Oil on Canvas
Past, Present, Future (Ghosthead Nebula), 2018 Destanne Norris 36” x 36” Oil on Canvas
Burst, 2018 Destanne Norris 36” x 36” Oil on Canvas
Forevermore (Ring Nebula), 2018 Destanne Norris 24” x 24” Oil on Canvas
Eye of The Cosmos (Helix Nebula), Oil on Canvas, 24" x 24", 2017
Celestial Freedom, Oil on Canvas, 24" x 24", 2017
Free Form, Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12", 2016
Cosmic Flight, Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12", 2016
Into the Vortex (Spiral Galaxy) , 12" x 12", Oil on Canvas
Pathway to the Beyond Within 2016, Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12"
Crossing Over 2017, oil on canvas, 12" x 12"
Pulse, A Universal Song (Pulsar Star), Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12"
Shine On 2, Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12"
Starburst (Starburst Galaxy), 2018 Destanne Norris 12” x 12” Oil on Canvas
Cosmic Revolution, 2018 Destanne Norris 12” x 24” Oil on Canvas
Portal to the Imagination (Rosette Nebula) oil on canvas, 72" x 72", 2017


"Norris works from a place interested in what I call interconnected totality; her personal experiences is what drives all of her work. She considers the grandeur of nature, an ever present theme in her work, with the same care and attention she does her paintings. It's all the same to her; everything deserves reverence and thoughtful consideration."- Katie Brennan, Artist
Detail: Eye of the Cosmos (Helix Nebula) 2017 oil on canvas 24” x 24”
"...Destanne's Presentation was one of our centre's most memorable of the year...." - David Hawkins and Jerry Thompson for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Detail: Portal to Imagination (Rosette Nebula) 2017 oil on canvas 72” x 72”
Created By
Mountain Galleries


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

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