At the Station House Gallery this month, the visually abstract works of Jasmine Alexander can be found.
Alexander grew up in Halifax and considers herself bi-coastal, as she grew up in both Nova Scotia and Vancouver. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2014, with a focus on painting, where she developed a deep love for colours and nature.
Two years ago, she came to Williams Lake with her then fiancé, now husband, and fell in love with the ever-evolving and unique landscape of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. In addition to painting, Alexander does seasonal work with the Downtown Business Association and serves as an administrator at the Cariboo-Bethel church.
“I was pining for the mountains a little bit, I really missed mountains and there was an opportunity in Williams Lake to grow as both an artist and a person,” Alexander said. “So I just felt a stirring, like it was time for me to move on from the Maritimes and just seeks something bigger so this is where we, I say ended up, but I really feel we were placed here. We both love it here right now and we have no plans on leaving anytime soon.”
With her new show, After Wake, Alexander said she seeks to combine her love of colours with her love of the landscapes surrounding her new home. The result is a trippy colourful visual delight that she calls dreamscapes.
“I really wanted to explore the idea of landscapes in between places. Landscapes that feel familiar, landscapes you maybe see in your dreams when you go to bed at night and then you wake up and feel like you’ve actually been somewhere,” Alexander said. “I’m trying to capture that feeling that you experience when you’ve walked somewhere, not in the physical but maybe in the spiritual or metaphysical.”
As a lucid dreamer, she often returns to specific landscapes in her mind and feels the dreams, for her, are tools to help her understand life. For the works in After Wake, she used oil, watercolour and a technique called gouache to bring the pieces to life.
Much of the inspiration for this show came from the ever-changing terrain and vastness of the Cariboo, according to Alexander. She said that she feels one can go out into the wider Cariboo every day and see a new landscape.
“In Nova Scotia, for example, you see a painting of the Maritimes and you immediately know it’s the Maritimes, but there’s a quality of ambiguity in the terrain of the Cariboo. Its rolling hills, its desert and its lush and everything in between, its no end of inspiration for an artist,” She said.
Alexander said the show contains everything from expressionistic landscapes to more traditional abstract works. Her end goal with the show is to create a safe space for people to enjoy her art and ask themselves the question “what compels you?”
Artist or not, Alexander believes we are all compelled by something in life, creative or not, to make, do or think something. She hopes the general public will ask themselves that question while perusing her art.
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The show’s abstract pieces are designed to invoke emotion from the viewer, be it nostalgia or the way the colours make you feel. She encourages viewers to explore how they feel about the art while viewing it. While she may be an artist, Alexander also considers herself a community engager and hopes the community will engage with her art to help better understand themselves and their emotions.
“I just invite people from Williams Lake and the Cariboo to come to the show and just explore some new thoughts about the idea of a dreamscape specifically,” Alexander said.
“Sometimes we just have these feelings in our spirit that we can’t explain, so it’s always good, I think, to just keep ourselves healthy and explore those feelings. I do think that art has the power to heal and can bring us together.”