Art and nature. One of the blessings of living in BC. Salt Spring has decent artistic talent. And there is something about local artist Gillian Gandossi’s work that is inspiring. Like the work of Emily Carr and Lawren Harris, Gillian Gandossi is working toward a vibrancy that is palpable. As a fan of Lawren Harris, I feel a connection to Gillian’s work.
I remember visiting the Salt Spring Saturday Market and being drawn to one her acrylic paintings of a shoreline and an Arbutus tree. She had a little booth with greeting cards, small prints, and a few larger works. I watched as others approached. One person, slightly tearing, spoke about the impact of her work on him. Her work touched something deep inside him. I also felt the same experience.
You get the sense that she paints from a deep place within. Even on her website, she says, “I seek experiences of connectedness.” You feel that the strokes in the painting all have their rightful place in the overall experience of her work.
Gillian’s inner silence and sensitivity come across on the canvas. She captures the strength and beauty, for example, of the Arbutus. The reddish brown, the reaching, winding limbs, and the stalwart, steady trunk are all brought out in the work beautifully. But the Arbutus is not alone in her paintings. The tree is just part of the whole. The water, the trees, the sky, the earth, and the light all seem connected as one.
Lawren Harris was the master of the skill of life and connectedness in art. As Steve Martin recently pointed out, some of Lawren Harris’s paintings do not feature living greenery; yet, they are fully alive, rich, vibrant, and connected.
Gillian Gandossi’s painting Nourishing Shores is a good example. On the surface, the image is of a beautiful Arbutus next to the water. The limbs turn as they move toward the sky. The tree, the earth, the rock, and the water all share the same texture, and while each is distinct and unique, each reflect the other effortlessly. The long branch has the same feeling as the extending shoreline. Everything is connected. As if they all stem from a unified one and display themselves as diversity.
If you visit the Salt Spring Saturday Market, by all means pop by her booth and see her images. You can also view them on her website. Art, like all things, certainly is personal, but on the journey, it is nice to see someone capture the inexpressible.
Salt Spring has these amazing gems. Gillian Gandossi is certainly one of them.
―written by Wayne Foster, who lives and works in Victoria