Sept 16 - Oct 21:

    Jonathan Forrest - "Building Blocks of Colour"
    Yechel Gagnon - "Midwinter Thaw"
Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art
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Current Exhibitions


Yechel Gagnon - "Midwinter Thaw"
View artwork and installation shots»

L’écume de Terre, 2017
Carved custom plywood of tinted + exotic veneers
36" x 120"


Newzones is pleased to present “Midwinter Thaw”, a solo exhibition by Yechel Gagnon.


Gagnon’s visual language gained much of its syntax through working with plywood; the themes and techniques that are explored are diverse. Plywood can exemplify dualism of identity: a complex, industrially-produced material layered with ‘content’ from its natural, organic source. No two panels are alike. Each stratification conceals an intriguing vocabulary of knots, grains, textures, hues, growth rings, organic networks of fine lines and whirls and manufacturing defects within an artificial end product. Restoring submerged values to plywood's diminished practical identity through re-layering redirects its purpose to that of a kind of decoy: an uncanny reminder of an almost forgotten, fuller world and our place within it.In this new series of wood bas-reliefs, Gagnon uses fire as a creative tool. Her process is physical and forceful, yet paradoxically the resulting abstract and complex works are seductive, refined, and transcend the process. Alchemy is put into play and the elemental is brought to the forefront.


The charred wood surface, with accents of gold and bronze leaf, stand starkly against tinted and exotic veneers mounted into custom-made plywood.Gagnon sees in this unique material an unfamiliar terrain to be discovered and annotated, much as an explorer leaves a cartographic record of points of departure and changes of direction. By employing tools and techniques devised for unfolding, layering, and de-layering to unearth imagery from the material at hand, the resulting pieces allude to worlds of dissonant tension and balance, composed of voids as well as signs, of emptiness aside human presence, and of the natural with the artificial. She interweaves her artistic vision with those intrinsic to the material, adding layers of meaning and complexity. One travels afar in these carved realms. Exploring and touching raw territories. They become worlds within worlds which converge and collide, to create a new Pangaea.


The title “Midwinter Thaw” quotes the poetry of Canadian writer Lenore Alexandra Pratt. An affinity exists between both women’s work as they explore the threshold of the natural world. Yechel Gagnon was invited by Ronald P. Frye Book to publish one of her works on the cover of this volume of the Chapbook series. The dialogues created between the poetry of Pratt and the visual work of Gagnon echoes a rawness and elegance existing in their creative works.


Yechel Gagnon completed a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Concordia University after receiving an AOCAD with Honours in Drawing and Painting from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her work has received reviews in the Globe & Mail, Canadian Art, Vie des Arts, Espace magazine and Circa International magazine. Gagnon’s work is widely collected and is part of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Osler Hoskins & Harcourt collection, Le Centre-d’art de Baie-St-Paul, Bishop's University, University of Montreal, and the Gotland Museum of Fine Arts in Sweden, to name a few.





Jonathan Forrest - "Building Blocks of Colour"
View artwork and installation shots»

Carmel Crossing, 2017
Acrylic on Canvas
88" x 66"

Saturday, September 16, 2017: 2-4 PM.


Newzones is pleased to present “Building Blocks of Colour”, a solo exhibition by Jonathan Forrest.

Part of the vibrant next generation of Saskatchewan's abstract painters, Forrest's boldly coloured acrylic paintings playfully reference post-war abstract painting. But instead of introspectively exploring the canvas, Forrest's layered works lift from the surface, tactfully invading the viewers' space.

In his new series, the structures within the paintings becomes more about layering and building areas of colour – enjoying their transparency and pigment mixture, how colours overlap, how the dynamic “sail” images move the eye, and how the positive colour radiates. Inspired by the space and light in his rural Saskatchewan studio, Forrest was prompted to explore a brighter colour range.

“Colour is sensory, it impacts you. It’s emotion and feeling enveloping you. Your eyes soak it in and it's irresistible.”

Jonathan Forrest received both his Bachelor and Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan. He also attended the Emma Lake Artist's Workshop and became an organizer in 2001. His work had been widely exhibited within Canada and can be found in many public collections including: the Canada Council's Art Bank, University of Saskatchewan and the Art Gallery of Alberta.