Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today
COLBORNE – Into the Light, a title that evokes images of movement and possibility, a journey to reveal and enlighten. An intimate personal story is brought to light through the drawings, sculptures, fabric works and linocut prints of artist Jillian Roos-Markowitz in the next exhibit at the Colborne Art Gallery.
Regular visitors to the gallery have enjoyed the versatility of Roos-Markowitzs' work over her three years as a member of the artist's cooperative.
Roos-Markowitz is a keen observer of the natural world, an artist who is quickly at home setting up paints and paper to capture a scene overlooking a field, lake or a friend's garden. The watercolour sketches that result are filled with light and energy, a joyful reflection of the appreciation Roos-Markowitz feels for her relatively new home in Cobourg. Into the Light, Roos-Markowitz's first solo exhibit at the Colborne gallery, showcases another aspect of the artist's observation of nature, a more intuitive approach that reflects inner connections and metaphor. This series began during a course given by Toronto School of Art teacher Megan Williams on image development. The process of exploring new ways to expand imagery appealed to Roos-Markowitz's need to go beyond painting a literal version of what she saw and to move within and capture her inner images.
A watershed moment for Roos-Markowitz occurred during an exercise that required the students to closely observe an organic object of their choice,
then close their eyes and draw from memory based on the object. She chose a corn broom, made from organic materials, which she observed carefully for a full minute. Then, with eyes closed, she began to draw the shapes lines and textures she remembered. During the following hour the drawing burst out, as if it couldn't wait to get to the paper. The resulting abstract drawing, reflecting the form and movement of that simple corn broom, was like nothing Roos-Markowitz had ever drawn before. The organic materials had resonated with her inner rhythms and expressed something more personal than any representational work had done in the past.
While drawing had always been an important part of Roos-Markowitz's life, this more personal approach began to serve as a source of strength and
healing for some very difficult times ahead. She was already grieving the death of her husband and her only daughter's move to Australia – and was soon to face moving her home and studio, and then a battle with cancer. Throughout these challenging times, Roos-Markowitz has continued to follow her creativity and intuition, and says she often feels guided by the creative forces in the universe to find the next step in the process.
Just as the course on image development came at the right time, so too have opportunities to explore her themes through the use of clay, fibre and lino cut printing. When a piece entitled Floating Soul won the mixed-media award at the Clarington Centre for the Arts, she was encouraged to continue along the path she's been developing.
Join Jillian Roos-Markowitz and the other members of the Colborne Art Gallery for an opening reception on Oct. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. New works by
the other gallery artists are shown in the second and third galleries.
Into the Light continues until Nov. 11.