Creating accidents

Chrissy Poitras’ exhibit Bits and Pieces explores impulsivity

Chrissy Poitras’ Bits and Pieces at Modern Fuel is a collection of 12 silkscreen and encaustic pieces and seven watercolour paintings.
Chrissy Poitras’ Bits and Pieces at Modern Fuel is a collection of 12 silkscreen and encaustic pieces and seven watercolour paintings.
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When I first walked into Modern Fuel’s State of Flux Gallery, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. But with the impulsive nature of the art, that’s not surprising.

Chrissy Poitras’ exhibit Bits and Pieces is a collection of 12 silkscreen and encaustic pieces entitled Shimmy and Shake, paired with seven watercolour paintings also called Bits and Pieces.

At first glance the exhibit appears as a muddle of small shapes and dark colours thrown onto a plain backdrop.

“I work on impulse, accepting whatever it is I place on the canvas,” Poitras wrote in her artist statement.

The encaustic method used in the 12 Shimmy and Shake pieces involves painting with wax colours and using a sharp utensil to create the lines and shapes in the pieces. It’s an impressive showing of Poitras’ skill, but the muted colours she used like light pinks and pale blues didn’t draw my immediate attention.

The watercolour collection is what draws you into the exhibit with the vibrant shades of pink, green and blue.

Each watercolour has a large black streak, representing the accidental marks Poitras sees in her world. With her brush strokes, Poitras seems to create her own accident.

In Bits and Pieces III, streaks of color collide to accidentally resemble human legs. In Bits and Pieces VI a group of colour spots form a crescent moon. This bright piece kept me circling back to it over and over again.

Many of the abstract shapes were outlined in black, showing how creativity can flow from the black and often unfortunate marks in life.

Despite the vibrant colours, I was left feeling bleak — there was no clear point to the exhibit.

“The focus of these works isn’t to create a unified, well-balanced composition, but to allow the viewer to follow trains of thought,” Poitras writes. I’m not sure I followed the train of thought.

Bits and Pieces is in Modern Fuel’s State of Flux Gallery until April 14.

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