Art Gallery of Regina, Balkwill Civic Arts Centre, Cypress Hills Inter Provincial Park, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Fine art, Nikki Jacquin, Nikki's Portraits of Childhood, Outside the Box, painting, painting on copper, Regina Saskatchewan, Visual Arts
Nikki Jacquin- Artist’s Statement for “A Personal Light”
Outside the Box -Art Gallery of Regina – Jan. 3rd– Mar. 26th, 2017
2420 Elphinstone St, Regina, SK; (306) 522-5940
11 am to 7 pm Monday through Thursday & during Neil Balkwill Civic Arts Centre business hours.
Pilgrimages, labyrinths and hikes have long been associated metaphorically with journeys inward and toward the spiritual. There is something about the slow repetitive motion forward while in nature that can focus my mind and reconnect me to my values. This series of work entitled “A Personal Light” was inspired by my journey in Cypress Hills, Sask. hiking the trails; a time of refreshing and inspiration for me.
I have always painted those things in life that settle me and give me a sense of awe, from my family to our beautiful landscape here in Sask. Often enjoyment of both overlapped. The Cypress Hills, Sask. Side has always been one of my family’s favourite places to camp. We spent many hours hiking trails within the centre and west blocks. The terrain there is like nowhere else in Sask. as this area has remained untouched by the last ice age. It has an ancient quality that is only made more beautiful by its abundance of wild flower species. These species thrive there due to the elevation that is on par with Banff, AB. It has remained a sacred place for me. It is a place where I go to connect with the spiritual to still my racing mind and reevaluate future paths.
As I hiked alone I was struck by the light and it’s “personal quality”. It was as if the scenes before me were meant for me alone. Each path appeared untried as the light revealed it in new ways to me and I was struck with the thought that no two people experience a path as ever being the same. Each was unique to that moment and that person. The shifting light and seasons continually presented each path as a fresh message to me. I chose to paint on copper to express that non-static and ethereal quality of each trail and to express that light and wisdom imparted through nature. I wanted to capture the sense of the spiritual in this place.
Artists have used the reflective properties of metallic leaf and precious metals to add a mystic quality to their work back to the Egyptian times. From 400 A.D. gold leaf illuminated manuscripts were being created in Constantinople, Ireland and Italy. Christian medieval alter pieces and paintings often included metallic elements. Paintings by the Dutch masters created on copper plate as substrates have withstood the test of time for over 400 years. Metallic leaf also continued to be popular in contemporary and modern art being used by Austrian artist Gustov Klimt and French artist Yves Klein to name a few. I chose the copper for its reflective properties and because of the belief that it has healing properties as do the trails of Cypress Hills for me. Through it’s reflective properties I hope the viewer will experience the shifting light and transient properties of the trails. The copper used was acquired in the most ecologically sensitive method possible by re-purposing it from a building materials wholesaler.
In 2011, 2012 and 2013 I was very fortunate to have been given the position of Guest Artist in Residence for a period each year. These stays ranged in length from 1 – 2 weeks, for as much as 6 weeks each year between May and Sept. There I provided arts programming to park visitors a few times a week. I hiked, painted and learned about the park while working on my personal art practice. The Art in the Park program was made possible through a Creative Partnerships Grant with the Friends of Cypress Hills Park Inc. and was funded by the Sask. Arts Board and Sask. Lotteries. In Sept. 2017 I am looking forward to returning as I invite a group of artists there to Paint Plein Air in the Tradition of the Canadian Group of Seven. I also plan to share the history of naturalist, artist and writer; Robert Symons who homesteaded in the west block of Cypress Hills.