Finding Herself in Acrylic

Bright colours and eye-catching patterns predominate in the latest art show at Triple J’s Gallery 22.

Called Finding C, it consists of 22 abstract pieces by local artist Lacey Ferguson, mostly done in acrylic on canvas.

The pieces in the show are a compilation chosen from Ferguson’s work over the past eight years, which makes for an interesting mix of styles.

Rather than all supporting a common theme, the pieces each seem to suggest a different time, thought or emotion.

“Gozer’s Playground”

Though they all definitely fit under the heading ‘abstract’, some pieces have a splattered, layered or ‘pop-art’ look, while others feature smoothly blended bands of vivid colours and textures.

For Ferguson, her first exhibit represents something of a journey, which becomes more evident when she explains the title.

“Growing up, my nickname was CeeCee and my best friend’s was E,” she says, adding that her friend was always the artistic one, while Ferguson stuck more to sports, not wanting to be compared to her creative companion.

She began to paint after graduating from high school. For her, the title Finding C is a perfect description of her collection.

“The whole show was about finding me,” she says, “It was about learning how to be comfortable with my own art and not compare it to anything else.”

While the pictures don’t immediately exhibit any kind of timeline, Ferguson explains that they do, in a way, show the evolution of her artistic style.

When she first started out, she wasn’t aware of all the different mediums that could be used to create abstract art, and so stuck mostly with straight acrylic on canvas.

Now, she says, “I tend to mix different textures. I use craft glue or tissue paper or even drywalling putty to get different textures in my pieces.”

This texturing is most apparent in the neon splatters of pieces like “At Dave’s For Tea”, and in the small folds and layered paint of “OP Weak” and “Dear E, What Do You Think?”

Two of Ferguson’s most recent pieces feature some texturing as well; the dramatic four-part “Primary Dance” grabs attention with splatters of orange, red and yellow paint crisscrossing a black background, while the grey, white and black splintery vertical stripes of “Channel 822” suggest the static on a television screen.

Other paintings that lack physical texture are still eye-catching, blending bands of bright colour in swathes that suggest movement and emotion.

The aptly-named “Midsummer Sunset” is one such, and beside it is another that blends horizontal clouds of blue, purple and silver in a beautiful display called “The Night I Knew I Loved You”.

As with many forms of abstract art, some of the pieces just appear to be random smudges when viewed up close, but as you move farther away and begin to see the paintings as a whole, they evoke certain moods or impressions of motion.

To Ferguson, this is one of the best things about abstract art.

“What’s great about it is that each piece can mean something different to everyone,” she says, adding that, at the opening of the gallery, “…numerous people asked what certain pieces meant to me, and then shared what it meant to them, and often it was quite different.”

This being her first art show, Ferguson wasn’t sure what to expect at the gallery opening, but was pleasantly surprised when lots of people showed up even in the considerably chilly weather conditions.

“I tried to go in with no expectations,” she says, “But I was surprised at how well it went… I sold half of my paintings on opening night!”

But for her it’s not really about the money.

Ferguson has a huge appreciation for the enthusiastic arts community in town, saying, “It’s great to know that a piece I made when I was going through something or having trouble expressing myself can make someone else happy or excited or inspired.”

Finding C will be showing at Gallery 22 until February 18.

Willow Gamberg is a freelance writer and former What’s Up Yukon intern who specializes in writing about the arts.

Willow Gamberg is a former What’s Up Yukon intern who writes about music and other arts-related topics.

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