"Sky Vessels" lets imaginations soar

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A painting of a ship

Gazette File Photo

GIVE ME AN S! Western grad Jennifer Dorner contrasts painted ships with an artificial sky in her latest exhibit, “Sky Vessels,” on display now at The Forest City Gallery.

The Forest City Gallery is currently exhibiting the uncanny art display “Sky Vessels,” painted by Western graduate Jennifer Dorner. Dorner received her masters of visual arts from Western in 2001 and became a sessional professor in the same year.

“I am building an artificial sky … panel by panel with miniscule elements that highlight the bizarre attributes of recreational and leisure activities in western culture,” Dorner explains.

The bizarre attributes she refers to are a collection of painted ships floating throughout the “artificial sky,” all of which have their own theme. There is a cruise ship pulling a water skier behind it, another ship has a cheerleader performing on it and also a rig that looks to be holding a bunch of waste. The installation consists of eight paintings, which all connect together to display a large blue sky.

This eerie art exhibit allows for the viewer to take a step back and look for a deeper meaning within the piece. Each ship could stand for a multitude of themes, from environmental issues to social conflicts, but the interpretation is left up to the viewer.

“The ‘Sky Vessels’ installation uses the objects of leisure activities ... removing these objects from their original contexts and inserting them into these new surreal landscapes heightens their peculiarity,” Dorner states. The exhibit has been touring Canada, making it as far as Nova Scotia and slowly moving west across the country.

Since her time at Western, Dorner has emerged on the art scene both as an artist and curator. She has taken part in various group and solo exhibitions that display her talent as an artist. She currently resides in Montreal, where she is pursuing her career as an artist and manages the Independent Media Arts Alliance as national director.

There is much more unconventional work on the way for Dorner, who is currently working on another body of work that looks into outer space. The new piece is similar to “Sky Vessels” but has a darker tone and displays spaceships rather than ships.

When asked about her inspiration for her art Dorner says, “Like memory, painting is elusive. It slips away from the sharp lines and exact shadows of the outside world. Imagination fills in the cracks and gaps and allows for the mind to wander, travel and explore spaces that are built and shaped from little bits of truth.”

Sky Vessels will continue to be displayed at Forest City Gallery, located at 258 Richmond Street, until Feb. 28.

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