Studio Visit with Visual Artist Anna Curtin, November 2017
Anna Curtin is a professional artist working from her studio in Rock Bay Square. In 2013, she graduated from the Vancouver Island School of Art (VISA) with a Fine Arts Diploma, majoring in painting. The artist was one of the first VISA graduates to use her diploma as university transfer credits. Assisted by scholarships, she studied at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. In 2014, she completed a Masters in Fine Art with a distinction in painting.
Curtin’s artwork has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions and is held in private collections in London UK, B.C., California and Mexico. She is an active member of the Canadian Federation of Artists. “All my artwork is an expression of my relationship to the landscape and deeply felt connections to the natural world,” Curtin says. The artist uses a variety of mediums and methods to communicate her ideas, and is a restless investigator of the myriad possibilities of pigment.
An avid naturalist, the artist feels at home hiking rugged terrain, canoeing in northern rivers and sea kayaking. She often flies into remote areas by plane, which brings an aerial perspective to her artworks. Above left, Curtin holds a propane torch gun that she uses to manipulate the poured acrylic paint. The beautiful swirling blues and greens bring to mind ocean depths or lakes and river viewed from the air. “I am working on perfecting this technique,” she says, “trying to fine tune how the paint responds to heat and contracts during drying.”
In July 2016, Anna joined ten other artists on the Canadian Wilderness Residency, spending three weeks canoeing 700 kilometers down the Yukon River. Her painting What Happens on the River (above right) describes some of the interesting social dynamics at play among the youthful voyageurs. To tell the river story, the artist uses truncated figures with intersecting lines of connection. X-ray vision and personal gestures help describe the dynamics of the relationship.
In February 2017, the artist had a one month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. This bustling centre welcomes over fifty artists and writers each month to studio spaces on an historic campus. The snowy landscape and festive atmosphere inspired a cheerful series of abstractions. Above: three framed artworks (Life in Colour) on display at the Victoria International Airport until mid-January 2018.
GPS Laser Painting 8 (above left) was part of Curtin’s MA project, completed in 2014 at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. The mixed media work combines her nature walks with the phenomenon of GPS tracking and technology. Curtin’s MA advisors encouraged her to juxtapose her personal experiences of environment with other lines of thought and viewpoints. She decided to take digital walks and bike rides around Cheltenham. Curtin used a handheld mapping device favoured by professional geologists to track her movements. The device records information using the Global Positioning System (GPS). Conceived and operated by the US military, the GPS radio-navigation system is a constellation of 24 satellites connected to ground stations. Cheltenham, located about two hours north of London, is the headquarters for British intelligence and security.
Curtin fed the GPS information into software that showed her movements as distinct meandering lines. She also used an architectural mapping software called ArcMap. ArcMap connected similar elevation points with straight lines, making grid-like patterns on her two dimensional maps. Curtin programmed a laser cutter at the university to burn grid lines into a wood panel, previously painted. “Creating these paintings was a journey in so many ways,” says Curtin. "I now have a different understanding of the world and ongoing questions about contemporary life and technology.”
In Grouse Mountain Walk (above left) the meandering neon pink lines show Curtin’s tracks recorded on a GPS. The finer grid lines are added using pencil, conte or paint to resemble laser burning. The paintings bright palette of spring colours (greens, purple/blues and pinks) are washed on in translucent layers. To start the composition, the artist blocks out the basic shapes, then uses her knowledge of colour theory to build up areas of pigment. “I use a lot of imagination,” she says, “and things take shape and unfold as I go along.” Often paintings are worked and reworked over several months.
In the painting 24 Hours (above right) the artist has recorded different times of day and landscape vistas. The triangular shapes stand in for mountains, some snow capped. Other areas are warmed with green vegetation and bright bands of floral accents. A broad blue stripe suggests flowing water and a patch of blue the twinkling sea. This composition features geometric and gestural shapes with layers of acrylic paint and gel medium completing the harmonious abstraction.
Roni Horn is a well-known American artist whose drawings, sculpture and photography are multi-faceted and descriptive of natural phenomenon. Curtin was inspired by Horn’s us of alcohol to dissolve and carry pigment. The Land and Fire series were created with pigments from the earth (and oil paint) on thick watercolour paper. Laser burns of GPS recorded walks were then cut into the paper.
Pan pastels are a powdery medium applied with spongy tools. There are easily blended and offer a variety of shading techniques. The artist uses a full compliment of bright colours to describe her experience of walking by the sea with potholes underfoot and mountains up above.
Anna Curtin welcomes your interest in her artwork. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
More images appear on her website: http://annacurtin.com/
More images appear on her website: http://annacurtin.com/
Web Design, Content and Photo of the artist by Kate Cino
Kate previewed arts events for 18 years at Boulevard magazine.
She has a History in Art degree &
Public Relations certificate from the University of Victoria
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