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Artist reaches deep inside

If you ever wondered what one artist might be able to create in six months, check out this month’s show at the Station House Gallery.
Al-lisa Tresierra McKay (left) with some of her work during the opening of her show at the Station House Gallery earlier this month.

If you ever wondered what one artist might be able to create in six months, check out this month’s show at the Station House Gallery.

Artist Al-lisa Tresierra McKay gave herself that challenge and the results are amazing.

Salmon, frogs, a refreshing interpretation of a Man-of-War or the birds and the bees, are some of the concepts shared in her show.

The timeline was difficult at times, but it forced her to let go and be simple, McKay told people during the show’s opening last Thursday.

“I like to surprise people with my paintings, but I never wanted them on my own wall because they were too busy,” she chuckled. “In doing these simpler paintings I realized I loved it.”

She worked from her “Piscesliness” and drew from her “Mars and Aries” considerably throughout the artistic process, she said. To get started she stretched her own canvasses.

“I loved that energetically and it made me very proud,” she said. “It felt like the story had already begun with each one and I realized I spent most of my time staring at them.”

In order to paint so many pieces she had six going at once in her cabin studio. Each area of the cabin became a delegated space for painting, felting or playing music.

“It was a relay in a way,” she smiled.

Many artists draw from a well when they create and sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint where the inspiration comes from, she explained.

“I enjoyed my winter working on this show. It was a hard process and lonely sometimes, but I wanted to stay with the process, working with water, air and the sky and worked a lot with the rain and water dripping down from the sky.”

There are a lot of tears in the pieces, she added.

“If I had a negative thought, I stopped painting because it wasn’t my intention and it wasn’t fair.”

She’d then go for a long walk and clear her mind.

Initially she wanted to carve a structured path, yet found freedom realizing she didn’t have to do that.

McKay was born in Squamish and raised in Williams Lake.

She has her studio cabin in between Williams Lake and Quesnel and a van she’s enjoying living in between.

It is her second show at the Station House Gallery. Her last show was in the upper level, but McKay wanted to be in the lower gallery this time because she has people she loves who are in wheelchairs.

Aside from painting, she also creates unique puppets and produces the  soundscape to perform puppet shows at festivals.

She’s a musician as well.

Each piece in the show has a detailed written addition, which one guest said were generous and poetic in their own right.

“All my pieces are open to interpretation but I like to write something because I know mine is abstract visionary work and sometimes it confuses people,” she said.

“So I write a little bit to let people know where I was coming from and hope they will still interpret it on their own.”


Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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