Des­jar­dines brings her Mus­ings to CAC’s fea­ture gallery show

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Frank PEEBLES Cit­i­zen staff fpee­[email protected]­i­t­i­

Me­lanie Des­jar­dines of­ten has the Com­mu­nity Arts Coun­cil come to her arts space. This time, the CAC is hav­ing Des­jar­dines come to them.

Des­jar­dines, in ad­di­tion to be­ing one of the re­gion’s most well known artists, is the pro­pri­etor of Groop Gallery, a down­town creative store­front near the cor­ner of Third Av­enue and Ge­orge Street. It is a place that has hosted CAC events like Art Bat­tle, af­fil­i­ated exhibition­s and classes. This spring it was where the 6x6 Art Auc­tion was held.

Now, with an open­ing re­cep­tion sched­uled for to­day, Des­jar­dines will be the artis­tic guest of hon­our at the CAC’s fea­ture gallery at Stu­dio 2880. Her art show en­ti­tled Mus­ings will hang there un­til July 4.

The ti­tle comes from the sundry places and men­tal spa­ces from which the show’s paint­ings were sourced.

Some are new, some are our of Des­jar­dines’ ar­chives as a way of ex­em­pli­fy­ing how her style has moved through time.

“I’m so very im­pressed with how, over the years, she has changed her art struc­tures so com­pletely,” said Lisa Red­path, the curator of the Stu­dio 2880 Fea­ture Gallery. “It’s al­most some­thing I for­get, that she started out as a wa­ter­colour artist, moved into ab­stracts, and now she does this amaz­ing work on metal. Each piece is dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent but also dis­tinctly Me­lanie.”

“It be­came a ret­ro­spec­tive of works that span about a 15-year pe­riod, right up to the day be­fore I left for Toronto on Thursday, some fi­nally mak­ing it out of my stu­dio for the first time,” said Des­jar­dines, who in­ten­si­fied the ex­hi­bi­tion prepa­ra­tion process by jet­ting off to a fam­ily event in On­tario on the cusp of open­ing. “All the pieces I chose com­pile a very eclec­tic mix of ma­te­ri­als and sub­strates rang­ing from wa­ter­colour, acrylic, ink, found ob­jects, col­lage, cop­per, met­als, you name it, but are all loosely tied to­gether through fa­mil­ial men­tal or phys­i­cal process.”

Red­path said she couldn’t wait to see the com­bi­na­tions Des­jar­dines was go­ing to show up with. It was an un­pre­dictable anticipati­on for her.

“She is the kind of artist who can pull art from just about any­thing – the lids of paint cans, lint from the drier,” Red­path said. “The word I would have to use for her cre­ation style is ‘clever’ be­cause ev­ery­thing she sees could have a pur­pose or mean­ing in a piece of Me­lanie Des­jar­dines shows off some pieces at the Groop Gallery in 2013. Des­jar­dines’ show, ti­tled Mus­ings, will open to­day at the Com­mu­nity Arts Coun­cil’s fea­ture gallery at Stu­dio 2880. art­work. She’s one of those artists who cause you to say, of­ten, ‘wow, I never would have thought of that.’ She can find beauty and func­tion in a flakey piece of rust. She has this rare abil­ity to see what it could be in­side of what it is.”

Even this show was a re­think­ing of a pre­vi­ous con­cept. She had a pri­vate ex­hi­bi­tion once be­fore that she called Mus­ings but the way the pieces were cre­ated and then as­sem­bled for this show clung to that word, so it got re­cy­cled for Stu­dio 2880.

Others have no­ticed what Red­path sees in Des­jar­dines’ tal­ent. Des­jar­dines was in­ducted into the Fed­er­a­tion Of Cana­dian Artists last year, was ac­cepted into this year’s Toni On­ley artist project in Wells for nine days in July with artist Peter Von Tiesen­hausen as one of the men­tors (her third Toni On­ley res­i­dency), and she has an­other ex­hi­bi­tion com­ing up in Williams Lake with her aunt.

“Its ti­tle is Lost And Found and ex­plores life, loss, and re­siliency,” said Des­jar­dines.

First, though, she has some Mus­ings to pon­der and present in Prince Ge­orge.

The public is in­vited to come to the open­ing re­cep­tion of Des­jar­dines’ work at Stu­dio 2880 on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. It is free of charge and re­fresh­ments will be avail­able.

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