Breanna Gordon finds her passion in painting humanity’s downfall

Fourth-year BFA student highlights the climate crisis in artwork

Breanna Gordon’s artwork.
Supplied by Breanna Gordon

What started as a passionless pursuit of technical art skills for Breanna Gordon (BFA ’20) has turned into a labour of love during her years at Queen’s.

In her final year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, Gordon reflected on her time at Queen’s and what she’s learned in her studies, in an interview with The Journal.

“When I started, I didn’t really have a passion for what I’d paint, so I just focused on building my technical skills,” Gordon said.

She soon found fulfillment through painting topics she felt strongly about, though it wasn’t yet a passion project for her like it was for so many of her peers.

When asked why she chose to attend Queen’s, Gordon boiled down her response to one basic requirement: Queen’s has the best studio space of any university offering fine art.

Although she also pointed out the “homey” campus atmosphere, and the top-notch program, it was the studio space that sealed the deal.

Growing up, it was never a question that she enjoyed making art. In school, it was more appealing to Gordon than anything else she was required to do.

Though she liked to paint, it wasn’t something she felt passionate about until much later in her studies. 

Throughout her time at Queen’s, she’s worked hard to find what she cares about and discover a way to show it through her art, taking her talents to the next level.

“I decided to focus on the human body, but for thesis work, I’m focusing on the connection between humans and climate change. I’ve always been passionate about climate change and pollution,” Gordon said.  

Finally finding that missing link, Gordon’s art took on a deeper meaning.

“My goal is to develop more paintings and create a surrealistic show where we put together a bunch of paintings that are related and focus on the relationship between humans and climate change,” Gordon said.

By sharing her concern for the environment through her artwork, Gordon has finally found her passion for art. Before, it was a practice of skill, but now, her artistic vision has become clearer.  

Currently working on a project which focuses on what she calls human ignorance, Gordon is trying to fit people into dystopian settings.

“I’m creating these surreal portraits with pretty dominant landscapes,” said Gordon.

These pieces are meant to reflect the climate crisis and the inevitably negative impact it will have on human life.

Her work shows the haunting predatory-prey relationship between humanity and the natural world—alluding to the dangers of ignoring the dire status of the climate crisis.

This year, Gordon wants to paint humans as selfish consumer-driven beings, villainizing them and breaking them down. This representation of humanity isn’t a flattering one, but that’s precisely Gordon’s intention through her artwork.

“I want [the audience] to not be scared, but to be disturbed and think about what role they sit in and what they could do to remove themselves from that role, and think about what they’ve done to fit into that role,” said Gordon.

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