Robyn Rennie

Artist Statement

For me, creating art is like writing a story: it makes order out of chaos. It also underscores the importance that recording impressions and events have to our collective experience. We operate within stories in order to understand our world and our place in it. Creative expression allows me to articulate what I experience, as well as provide opportunities to unite with others. While what the viewer takes away from “reading” my work will be personal and pertinent to them, it is our shared experience that has the most value. Art has such a capacity to move people. I am never more thrilled (and humbled) than when the subconscious energy I feel during the process of creating is replaced by the awe that I have somehow tapped into the notion of the sacred.

Despite many side trips over the years into oils, watercolours, pastels, egg tempera, and textiles, I always return to acrylic paints. I often use a monochromatic palette. I love iridescent and metallic paints for expressing the ephemeral quality of an experience: even the slightest shift in view point changes the image’s appearance. The play between light and colour in these paints is like the multi-faceted layers to truth and how opinion can change with the disclosure of new information. I never get tired of being able to represent more than one point of view!

I suffered a life-changing vision loss ten years ago which has changed how I experience the world. But while I still tend to choose my subject matter from the natural world, visual impairment has freed me from my former style of highly-detailed expression. I use the same medium and grounds, but now employ them to subvert popular assumptions about sight. One common stereotype about vision loss is that it results in more acute hearing, but in reality sight merely allows the brain to filter background noise so that we can attend to something specific. My current work reinterprets what we see by evoking other senses: For example, I want the viewer to be able to experience what we rationally know about colours by thinking about how they might taste, smell, sound, or feel. I hope to impart that seeing beyond vision can open the door to understanding that so much of what we assume to be true is open to interpretation.

Just like a story.

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