"Closer to Oneness"

Burnaby Arts Council Gallery
at Deer Lake
September 19 - October 10

sHE, Red 2 (1997)
oil on canvas

Do we have souls? If so, can we physically manifest them? Ultimately, what is our responsibility as custodians of ourselves and the planet?

Such questions locate the work of Vancouver-based [not-a-typo] sHE at the forefront of artistic dialogue on the cusp of the millennium. For the past ten years, sHE has sought to demonstrate the presence of the soul by combining a figurative with abstract style. Much like the 1980's work of Vancouver painter David Mayer, sHE shows us full-length back views of models. sHE's people, however, are nude, and rather than facing a clearly-defined environment they face painterly abstractions of colour and shape. The one figure who does look back into the viewer's world is the same child, "whose smiling face", claims the artist, "is as yet untarnished from years of programming and conditioning by society, media, and politics".

sHE invites viewers to sense the child's vulnerability, the allure of conformity, and the "unchangeable eventuality" when illusion becomes delusion. By doing so, the artist asks us to examine our own conditioning and acceptance of illusions.

© Mia Johnson