Creating imagery

Nicole Kerouac and Rachael Dodgson provide social commentary through their art

Nicole Kerouac and Rachel Dodgson show their exhibit  at Union Gallery. Kerouac’s pieces depict significant moments in history through imagery.
Nicole Kerouac and Rachel Dodgson show their exhibit at Union Gallery. Kerouac’s pieces depict significant moments in history through imagery.
Nicole Kerouac and Rachel Dodgson show their exhibit  at Union Gallery. Kerouac’s pieces depict significant moments in history through imagery.
Nicole Kerouac and Rachel Dodgson show their exhibit at Union Gallery. Kerouac’s pieces depict significant moments in history through imagery.

Walking into the OIL & ACID exhibit at the Union Gallery, the viewer is struck by the powerful and energetic themes behind the artistic creations.

Nicole Kerouac’s fascinating work OIL is filled with gripping images of the seduction of power. Her work demonstrates the arrogance of the human race, which constantly strives to conquer everything through science and technology, ignoring the consequences.

Kerouac’s paintings portray objects, buildings and landscapes associated with specific events. The events are ones in the distant past or recent history, and are generally significant enough to be accessible to the audience.

One of her most striking pieces is “Agent Orange (Vietnam)”, wherein the colour orange seems to reverberate with a passionate fervour, grasping the immediate attention of the viewer.

One is immediately reminded of the chemical Agent Orange, which was used in the Vietnam War to kill the vegetation in order to reveal hiding soldiers, later causing horrific birth defects.

“Slavery” is another one of Kerouac’s masterpieces, which focuses on four different slavery events throughout the past and the present.

The first shows an image of Roman gladiators in the form of a colosseum. Another represents African-American slavery through the image of cotton, while a third image depicts lingerie to portray sex slaves and human trafficking.

Money is the focal point of the final piece. It illustrates how man is a slave to the lure of a materialistic and superficial worldview.

Kerouac uses monotone shades to create dark, dismal images. In contrast, she uses bright, unnatural colours either in the background or through paint drippings to create a toxic, unnatural look.

To juxtapose Kerouac’s realism, Rachael Dodgson’s work “Acid” appears to be more abstract but nevertheless equally vibrant and captivating.

Dodgson’s work seems to be more focused on exploring the reasons behind creative energy and questions what makes an artist use certain materials in order to create meaningful work.

She uses lithographic limestones and materials such as acid, soap and a variety of inks and papers to produce something entirely new, highlighting the artistic processes.

Her lithographic work features some remarkable prints such as “Baby Stone in Red” and “Baby Stone in Colour”, depicting an enigmatic vigour and vivacious animation.

“Aluminium Tray” seems to depict a wild, passionate energy. The freedom that comes with losing control, enabling the artist to go awry, results in a completely unique form of printmaking.

“Most contemporary artists are very interested in exploring and researching their interests through their art making practice,” Dodgson said in an interview with the Journal. “For me, striving to express the artist’s need to create rather than display any predetermined representational imagery is more important.”

Even though both artists’ work contrast, they share the same passion for depicting dramatic and alluring subject matter in a way that will be mirrored in the viewer.

OIL & ACID will be showing in Union Gallery until Jan. 24.

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