Justine Skahan - An Ordered Absence
Presented in conjunction with the Department of Visual Arts, University of Ottawa
Justine Skahan was born in Montreal. She obtained her BFA in Studio Arts with Distinction from Concordia University in 2010 and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Ottawa. She has completed residencies at the Banff Centre as well as the Wild Bush Residency in Val-David. In 2015, Skahan was the recipient of the inaugural Stonecroft Foundation Venice Scholarship. She most recently participated in the exhibitions Shelter at Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto, and Full Catastrophe at Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa, and is a finalist in the 2016 RBC Painting Competition.
My painting practice consists of a range of reoccurring subjects, most importantly architecture, landscape, domestic animals, and visual representations of gender. My interest in these emerges from a desire to question their construction: their physical making as well as the way we project our own conceptions onto them with varying degrees of accuracy.
My choices of subject matter are motivated by something felt rather than explicitly stated, and my methods for gathering source material is as varied as the content. I use personal photographs, film stills, online news stories, internet image searches, magazine and newspaper content, and imagined abstract spaces as raw materials for the work. Pop culture and the suburban landscape are both rich areas of source material for me. They are inescapable, and provide an abundance of the qualities I am drawn to in my everyday visual field: humour, foreboding and the absurd.
One of the primary driving forces behind my work is the act of painting itself. It is a physical and mental process that allows me to deconstruct the subject matter that I am addressing. Constructing an image also allows me to think through what exists below the surface of things or question what has caused dissonant natural or manufactured elements to be joined together.
The individual works are organized so as to form multiple relationships that extend the process of construction. The installation also serves to amplify the content of individual works. In these ways, the relationships formed find parallels in the structures of language and location of meaning.
Ingrid, Oil on Canvas, 2016