On Tuesday morning, Joyce Majiski was hanging one show, talking about another and keeping an eye on art she had hidden in the back of her pickup outside.
It was the first day of school at Yukon College, and while students were signing up to win a free iPad, Majiski was carting giant caribou canvases through the halls.
There’s a new eating space opening as part of the culinary school and Majiski’s caribou series is going to grace the walls.
“This work is more marketable,” she says. “It’s easier for people to understand.”
Some of her less marketable, more obscure pieces are part of a collaborative show opening at the Yukon Arts Centre’s studio theatre on Thursday.
Majiski is going bright.
The walls of the studio theatre are black and she’s imagining colour filling the void. She’s using magnets to hang the work so it will float off the wall.
Don Weir’s colourful abstracts will be hanging there too, along with Philomena Carroll’s abstract digital images.
The three-person show grew out of coincidences, says Carroll.
She met Weir at an artist talk in 2007.
He was taking a plunge – veering away from traditional landscapes, the huge sweeping vistas and deep valleys that defined his work – stepping into a world of blurred film.
It’s a world Carroll knows a lot about.
Working with a flatbed scanner, she makes large images and layers them. “You can almost see a full object and think you recognize it, but with the layers it becomes something different from the original – it’s up to the viewer to decide,” she says.
Carroll calls it “still life collage.”
Weir had seen her work at the arts centre gallery and, realizing they were walking a similar path, the two artists discussed doing a show together.
Five years later, it’s finally happening.
Majiski and Weir had been talking about a collaborative show for even longer.
“I think at one point, the idea of having some unifying theme to the work was tossed around,” writes Weir in an e-mail to the News. “But when we met this summer, we decided it would make for a much more interesting show to not have any boundaries to any of it and see where that would lead us.”
In the end, it’s led back to a show that does share themes, albeit accidentally.
Majiski sees her work fitting in between Weir’s and Carroll’s.
The bright colours she shares with Weir are part of a series on migration that started with her caribou works, evolved through her work with Mexican artists and has now moved to paintings.
Inspired by huge etchings she took from her copper birds at the Canada Games Centre, Majiski created bright landscapes with crop circles and the shadows of birds in flight.
“I was on a flight from Seattle to Mexico and saw all these crop circles, which are beautiful,” she says.
“But then I started thinking about how all these artificial landscapes affect birds in migration – what landmarks do they have?”
People, familiar with Majiski’s work, will likely see her use of bright colours as a departure.
But it’s not, she says.
As a told-you-so, she’s also putting some bright paper pieces in the show that she did in Spain almost 20 years ago.
There are also more current paper sculptures and some pieces where pulp was moulded over pebbles, rusty nails and other found objects, then peeled off. The dried paper is left holding a ghostly imprint of the shapes.
Majiski’s layered shapes tie in nicely with Carroll’s work, which in turn blurs into Weir’s fuzzy photographs.
Shared exhibitions “give you an opportunity to explore some of the common issues art deals with,” says Carroll.
It’s all part of figuring out what it means to be “an artist,” something she’s been struggling with since art school.
Carroll remembers when her first painting went up on a wall.
“I felt so exposed,” she says.
That’s part of it.
“Whatever work you do plays with your personality and your imagination,” she says.
And in a world Carroll sees becoming more and more literal, a little imagination can go a long way.
“When the viewer looks at my art, I hope it stays with them and impacts their life,” she says.
The three-person show opens Thursday and runs only until Saturday, September 11. Three days is all that was available at the space.
“And it build excitment this way,” says Majiski. “Get it now, or you’re going to miss it.”
The reception’s at 7 p.m. on September 9 and artist talks are the following evening, also at 7 p.m.
Contact Genesee Keevil at