This page carries a selection of excerpts from show statements, as well as written word used in show promotion.
January 2017 – Chakra Suite – healing with landscape solo show at Elevation Gallery
Over the years I have enjoyed observing people as they view my art. I have wondered what makes a person sometimes cry when they are immersed in a particular scene. A client once purchased a green field painting, and she started to cry, and in between the sobs she said it reminded her of her father, but she didn’t know why because, in her words, “he wasn’t even a farmer.” He had died, and it was clear to me as a newly emerged healer that this woman was in fact receiving heart-healing, because greens are the colour of the heart. Over the years I have realized just how important colour therapy is for the soul, and how we should never underestimate nor downplay our emotional response to any art, even, and perhaps especially, when we have no idea what and why something has been triggered.
A few years ago I was plunged into the mysterious and beautiful world of shamanic healing. It wasn’t a choice, more of an imperative – an order from spirit. I accepted the role and embarked on a new and additional career. As I explored and healed through the various chakras, it was so clear to me that my work in the spiritual realm of colour was a direct tie-in to the physical world of my colourful paintings. Not only that, but I had inadvertently been healing myself all these years! And now with both spiritual work and painting, I find myself healing others with colour.
This show is an exploration of landscape painting sourced with a new emphasis: in the past I chose scenes to paint because I liked them, and now I am making choices for paintings based on the fundamentals of their potential healing power. I have called this collection the Chakra Suite because I have selected sources that resonate with one or more of the chakras. In some cases I have gone back to familiar and already painted sources, and I am deliberately testing and shifting some of my application of colour.
I am interested to see how this new play with colour, especially with the primary underpainting, influences the end result. As an artist, it is important for me to know that my journey is one of constant evolution. I only remain inspired when curious things and discoveries ignite the drive to paint. This new angle is a merging of my worlds, and I am excited to see where this path takes me. The moment I stop evolving as an artist will be the moment I need a new career. And most truly, I hope to be on this path of artistic evolution to the very end.
March 2012 – for the solo show Storm Chaser, Elevation Gallery
If I look back on my most recent body of work, it reflects the year I have had, one marred by tragedy, loss, grief, sickness, and trials and tribulations of all sorts. The light in the midst of all of this has been thin. Fortunately, I work in vibrant colour, a gift from nature, a therapeutic channel in which I am immersed. Each day in the studio is a day of meditation, lost in colour and movement of the brush. At the end of the big push to create this collection of new work to celebrate the arrival of my book Storm Chaser, I noticed that there is a richer and more expressive use of colour; I have let more of the under-painting shine through. While the subject matter of most of these works is clearly dark and stormy, I cling to the joy and hope of brightness on the horizon, that amidst all the hardships that life has to throw there is still joy, a joy in the bright light of the sky. The sun always rises in the east.
November 2009 – for the solo show The Open Space, Elevation Gallery
Naturalist, scholar, writer and artist – the easy and genuine presence of Ian Sheldon suggests none of the pride that might accompany his numerous artworks and publications. Capturing the essence of natural environments through paint and glass, Ian’s insightful work is one of many reasons Alberta has taken over as the cultural hub of Canada.
Utilizing a layering technique borrowed from early work in watercolour, one might perceive a loneliness and melancholy from the glazed glass and oil pieces found in The Open Space. Less melancholy than intimate, an abiding relationship has grown between Ian and the open spaces in which he works; reconnections with the land that feed his creative energies. With graduate degrees in both Natural Sciences and Wild Lands Management, Ian’s selection of subject matter is no surprise, and a month aboard a 43 foot sailboat from the Canary Islands to Antigua has given birth to his new series of seascapes. Although rife with organic lines and relative asymmetry, there also exists definite structure in horizon and near mathematical intersetion of lines – intersections that scream geographic and elemental complexity. It is somewhere within this opposition that the self-described fastidious and empirical ian Sheldon becomes the ardent storm-chaser.
Richard Dumas – www.richarddumas.com – for Elevation Gallery
March 2008 – general statement for the land, sky and seascapes
I have had images of Alberta engrained in my mind, as an Albertan for so long abroad. When I returned to this province after many years, the landscapes evoked a strong sense of place and belonging. I am part of this land, as this land is part of me. Only in the prairies do I feel connected and complete. The landscapes I depict come from the heart, mind and real place. My spirit lives and seeks refuge in these landscapes.
I am most inspired during a summer storm. The energy I derive from standing in the midst of a tornado-bearing storm instills a vigour that flies out of me through the paintbrushes. I feel at one with the elements in that moment. When the sky apparently fuses with land during a torrential downpour, I feel like the heavens are reaching down for a brief moment and instilling life into the arid plains. It is these events in the vast prairie that continue to drive me, consuming my summer days as I listen for storm warnings and study the radar for an approaching downpour.
Recently I have started to ponder the significance of landscape, and the ability to transfer the sense of place and belonging to landscapes that share similar physical components. It has become clear that the flat line of the horizon allows my spirit to flow freely as an artist. As a result of this freedom, I have become drawn to experiences that involve vast open spaces – in deserts, in the arid altoplano of Patagonia, and in the endless open ocean of the Atlantic.
It is in the vast open spaces of the natural world where I find the greatest comfort and hope.