Of Water and Rock, Lorna Mulligan (Apr-Jun 2022) – Art Talks at ARTSPLACE

Livestream - Lona Mulligan Art Talk, Of Water and Rocks (Apr. 30-Jun.11, 2022)

LORNA MULLIGAN is an artist working at the intersection of materiality and memory. Her paintings are about unpredictable edges, incorporating the immediacy of watercolour, hand-ground pigments and black ink with calligraphic gestural movements and written words. Lorna is motivated by observation, visual responses and an active participation with both water and rock—as process, artist’s material, and as geographical location. Going beyond traditional seascapes, Lorna contemplates the effects brought about by climate change upon our oceans. A quiet tension exists in each piece with lyrical flowing washes that can plunge us deep into the water’s depths. Momentary glimpses of topography coalesce to depict the convergence of waves on rocks, then slip away with the instability of water on paper.

For many years Lorna has produced plein-air paintings in Cape Breton and elsewhere in Nova Scotia. Periods of art production throughout the Maritimes have included a residency at the eastern-most tip of Newfoundland, as well as an artist’s residency on the Penwith Coast of Cornwall, England. The physicality of the ocean has been paramount to both the on-site paintings and to her continuing research and studio practice. While exploring the interconnectedness of walking and thinking (creative seeing), the Romantic concept of the sublime merges with her environmental concerns affecting these liminal spaces. This body of work explores the connections and visual echoes between coastal locations that are on either side of the Atlantic – the easterly-most part of Canada and the westerly-most shores of Great Britain.

In fact, the notion of crossing the ocean is incorporated into the actual materials used in this exhibition: vintage watercolour papers from England were used in the Newfoundland explorations; local Quebec handmade papers (both St-Armand and St-Gilles papers) were used in Cornwall. In fact, the metal paintbox that was used in many of these locations originated in England, where it was given to the artist long ago, by a Cornish artist. Some of these art materials have crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic many times, much like the artist herself.

Artist Profile - Lorna Mulligan

  • Headshot of Lorna Mulligan

    Lorna Mulligan is an artist, calligrapher and teacher currently living in Montreal. She studied at the University of British Columbia and at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts. Her watercolours, artist’s books and mixed media artwork have been exhibited across Canada, in the United States and in Europe. Lorna was an active member of a contemporary calligraphy collective for twelve years. She continues to paint, write, teach art and be inspired by the chaos in nature and the beauty of letterforms.

    Of Water and Rock presents Lorna’s more recent series of paintings and artist’s books, brought together in visual groupings. The pieces have a quiet contemplative feel, albeit full of gestural energy and power, with written text woven in and around like ambulatory thoughts. It is an exhibition about place, a searching for visual connectedness and all that being at the water’s edge entails. Indeed, large amounts of water were required in the process of creating these paintings, allowing the colours and inks to merge freely on the paper. The lyrical imagery shifts between the suggestion of a real place and the constant reminder of the actual painted surface. Gestural brushwork and water intermingle in an immersive, thoughtful manner, immersing one in the ebb and flow of watery landscapes.