Abstract arrival

If the blocks of splattered and spackled paint don't cock your head and twist your brow, the corresponding titles of Lacey Ferguson's first art exhibit, Finding C, may do the trick.

If the blocks of splattered and spackled paint don’t cock your head and twist your brow, the corresponding titles of Lacey Ferguson’s first art exhibit, Finding C, may do the trick.

Lemon and Orchid’s First Date features a nearly morbid red stripe with dripping purple on either side against the yellow-white brushed canvas.

L’ego’s Fall To My Rise, is one of the biggest pieces. Dark purple, black and blue make a circle with a red dot in the centre and a swipe of red on the left side.

Dave’s For Tea and New Vinyl, Old Treasures are two corresponding mixes of purple, yellow, blue, silver, green and fluorescent orange that have been dripped, sprayed and dragged across the canvas.

The Night I Knew I Loved You, is a mixture of purple, blue and silver brush strokes, with a hint of sparkle underneath.

In perfect harmony, the name of the exhibit, Finding C, may seem just as perplexing.

The name and the show centre around one of Ferguson’s longest relationships, she said.

The 25-year-old massage therapist, and her friend, Elizabeth, met when they were only five months old. As children, they were unable to pronounce each others’ names. Elizabeth became ‘E’ and Lacey turned into ‘Cee Cee.’

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As they grew older, each girl took their role: Elizabeth was the artist; Ferguson was the tomboy.

“We kind of just let each other succeed in those areas,” said Ferguson. “And I never really wanted to do art because I was like, ‘Well, if I’m never going to be as good as Liz then there’s not a point.’”

But after graduating from high school about eight years ago, Elizabeth encouraged Ferguson to put brush to canvas, explaining their styles did not have to look the same.

“I never took any art classes,” said Ferguson. “I just started experimenting with different colours and textures, oils and acrylics, canvas and board, and really whatever I could find.”

Their artistic styles are quite different, Ferguson said. But it was in finding her own style that Ferguson dedicates this show, and its title, Finding C.

The exhibit is made up from works that span her entire artistic career so far – three pieces come from those first attempts as an 18-year-old. Others were just finished last winter, said Ferguson.

“I wanted it to be about self-exploration and discovery; being comfortable being myself,” said Ferguson. “For a long time I tried to recreate my art to make it look like other peoples’. If somebody liked a piece that Liz did, I thought if mine looked something like hers then people would think my art is good too.

“That growing in the last six to eight years and trying to find my artistic style was kind of what this show is all about. Even if I don’t think anybody else will like it, if it makes me happy and it helps me in some way, then that’s what’s important.”

But if this first show is any indication, Ferguson isn’t the only one who feels good about her work. By Tuesday morning, only six days after the exhibit’s opening on Jan. 19 at Whitehorse’s Gallery 22, 13 out of the 22 pieces were already sold.

Though the sales were mainly to friends and family, Ferguson noted how the Whitehorse art scene is always full of surprises.

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson came out for the opening in nearly minus 40

temperatures and purchased one of three four-panelled works for her office, Ferguson said.

The series are sets of four, horizontally-lined canvases with splatters and drips of paint swirled in what looks like an infinity symbol when the four pieces are joined.

Ferguson is able to find her expression in abstract better than in more traditional art, she said.

Abstract is more freeing to the young artist, who has had to overcome the self-inflicted pressures of rights and wrongs in the world of over-analyzation.

“It’s harder for me to paint actual physical objects,” she said. “If I’m just using different colours and shapes and different lines and patterns, I find it easier to get out what I’m feeling or what I want to convey in what I’m doing.

“And also, sometimes I don’t really know what I want to paint or what I want to express or what I feel. And as I go, and as art builds, it’s kind of like self-discovery in that.”

And other times, what Ferguson starts out to do, isn’t what she ends up with, she said.

“They change a lot,” she said about her works. One, titled Grape Slushy and Blue Mr. Freeze, actually began with blocks of bold, bright colours that don’t look anything like the cool confluences of blues that it eventually turned into.

There are only three pieces in the show that appear to have taken precise brush work.

The most interesting is called, For Celine. A whimsical and dainty brush stroke is the main focus of the piece, appearing like a tadpole standing up on its feet – if you can call the thin end of a tadpole’s tail its feet.

A small square canvas on the opposite wall, entitled, Let Yourself… holds lines of written words. A similar-sized square, covered in black, blue and turquoise, showcases a black raven.

It is called, Kaw-Kaww and gives a hint of what is to come from the young artist.

A series of ravens in personalized relationships, like a family, a pair of squawking friends and lovers is in the works, Ferguson said, adding that she has been trying out a few new things with her art lately.

But whatever form her art may take, one thing is for sure, this first show will not be the last, she said.

Finding C is at the gallery until Feb. 18.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at roxannes@yukon-news.com