YORKTON – The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery is currently showcasing the works of Saskatoon Artist Gabrielle Fourstar.
Fourstar's exhibition, The Blob 100 Series, consists of 100 paintings by the artist that they completed throughout the pandemic.
"I started before the pandemic...but very briefly before and the rest of the paintings have been painted throughout," said Fourstar of the exhibit in an interview with Yorkton This Week.
"They're meant to be messes on the canvass — just a colour drop to have fun — I was trying to have fun and find my inner child and connect with play," said Fourstar of the works, noting the meanings of the painting would become more than anticipated.
"Out of that they kind of became a bit of commentary on the obsessive-compulsive consumerism that takes place every day – with how much people are buying and then how much is going to waste in land fills," said Fourstar.
The influence for the works came from what many would find in their home at some point in their life.
"My inspiration was a neglected child's toy box – a bunch of different colours of toys all jumbled together," said Fourstar.
"It's kind of ironic. I'm making comments — or at least reflecting on — how much we are throwing away and not using, but then at the same time I'm producing all these canvasses with plastic paint out of plastic tubes and there's glue on the canvases – there's a lot of waste that's going to eventually come out of them," explained Fourstar, making note of plans to work with biodegradable materials in the future.
"Sometimes I just get really despressed about it – but it's funny that I'm just creating more [waste] to deal with it," said Fourstar.
Fourstar pointed out that the paintings — styled with acrylics, glitter, pumice, flakes and foil — were not only a reflection of consumerism, but of advertising as well, noting that the order in which they appear in the gallery is akin to the order you might see commercials aired on television.
"It's ordered — but at the same time if you put it all together you might see a cell phone ad and then the next one a fishing commercial — those don't really go together."
"The darker [paintings] can come from the garbage aspect – when something's in the landfill it's not going to stay shiny and new it's going to be distorted," said Fourstar.
Fourstar recalled the draw to the 'blob' paintings was an experience from elementary school.
"The beginning of the idea started from two different seeds — one was at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon — I was at a school field trip there and was taught there was organic shapes. Before that I thought that a shape had to be geometrical — if it wasn't geometrical than it wasn't a shape — then this instructor drew a lopsided mass on this board and said 'this is a shape'."
"That stuck with me my whole life; just because it's not a triangle with perfect edges doesn't mean it's not valid."
"I painted my first blob and had no intentions of making more — had no style that I was going for — I just wanted to bleed out onto the canvas," said Fourstar, adding, "my good friend — who is also an artist — was doing a 100 portrait series and I thought that was really interesting."
"Obviously there's still a story between two paintings, but from one to 100 there's just so much that can take place — time alone — but also the interactions that you're having."
"I just liked the idea of a set amount of time with a definite end."
This is Fourstar's first foray in a Professional Public Art Gallery, but the works first appeared in the Saskatoon Community Youth Art Projects Space in 2021, where GDAG Director Jeff Morton discovered them.
"I saw some of the pieces and it just really jumped out at me so I wanted to reach out to Gabrielle to give her an opportunity here," said Morton, adding, "the other thing that started jumping out to me as we're doing this install is how the pieces are playing off one another."
Morton went on to add that this is the first time that all 100 individual paintings have appeared together.
"Created over the course of two years, the exhibition represents an ambitious goal the artist set for themselves: to create 100 new paintings exploring colour, gesture, and abstract representation. Like a story told without words, the pieces are displayed around the gallery in the order they were made," read an exerpt from the GDAG's website.
The Blob 100 Series will be on display at the GDAG until March 25.