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Sheila Norgate: each with a story
Gabriola artist Sheila Norgate has been described as an "abstract symbolist". Her work is peppered with a 1980s design iconography: bird-headed figures, houses, hearts, hand-written phrases, and concentric swirls, which are painted and block-printed onto blurred fields of acrylic paint. She calls these motifs, which represent personal memories and associations, "old friends of mine". She prefers to embark on new pieces without preliminary sketches or other preparations, in a process of "painting from the inside-out". With each painting, she embraces the solitary challenge of expressionism, weaving her icons with loosely organized rectangles of textured surfaces. Norgate has exhibited widely across Canada since 1986. She is a self-taught artist who has developed a unique personal style. As she puts it, her life as an artist grew out of a need to see her own spiritual journey reflected. Her paintings record the emergence of her adult self along paths of memories "strewn with the ghosts" of her childhood experiences. As an ardent feminist, non-profit groups often reproduce Norgateís work in print media.
© Mia Johnson