Friday, 11 April 2014

Jennifer Shamo @ Hamilton Artists Inc. I

Jennifer Shamo Tree Rings 2013; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Ignition 2 was an exhibition of three exceptional McMaster University Studio Arts Program students who graduate this year at the Hamilton Artists Inc. (March 6 to 29). Jennifer Shamo was one of the artists whose work caught my eye and I haven't stopped thinking about it. As I have written in a previous post about the work of Harold Klunder, normally watercolour isn't my cup of tea. In the hands of Harold Klunder and Jennifer Shamo, it's brilliant, fresh, and innovative. To be fair, Shamo uses more than just watercolour. She employs pencil, oil pastels, acrylics, thread, and possibly gouache to render her ethereal mixed media works. The work is simultaneously delicate and strong.
Jennifer Shamo Tree Rings detail 2013; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Shamo's line quality and use of colour are exquisite. Her contrast of light, translucent washes and bold, opaque colour are what make the work so successful. It's not easy to balance delicacy with assertive colour. She uses enough white space to give the work room to breathe.
Jennifer Shamo Tree Rings 2 2013; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Shamo is a first generation Canadian who is influenced by nature. In her artist statement she states that process and exploration are important to her art practice and "I attempt to create an ethereal place that draws influence from the natural world through a spontaneous process. Only after completing my work do I analyze and make connections to plant biology, life cycles and a fluidity of motion." Before I set eyes on her statement, the words ethereal, fluid, and life cycles came to mind. Tree Rings 1 and 2 have a feel of female fertility.
Jennifer Shamo Afloat 2014; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Afloat is a departure from her watercolour-based mixed media pieces. It's a large piece on panel, and although it lacks the luminosity of the Tree Rings artworks, it still conveys a balance of delicacy and boldness.
Jennifer Shamo Afloat detail 2014; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Don't you agree that her line quality is gorgeous? I'll write more about her work in another post.


Judy Martin said...

Thanks for letting me see the work of this talented young woman.

I agree with you about her delicate lines and spontaneous composition. wow

Anonymous said...

And her work is even more amazing is person!!!

Karen said...

It's true, my photos do not do Jennifer Shamo's work justice. They really are ten times more gorgeous in person.