With splashes of colour, bold shapes, and whimsical images, walking through Simone Benjamin’s show in the upper gallery of the Station House feels like walking through a vivid dream.
The title of the Station House Gallery’s latest show is Infinitesimal Affirmations.
“It is more about the creative process than the end result,” said the artist.
“Usually shows are about a theme and you work towards that theme, but this one I wanted to be conscious about the creative process: what happens; what sparks the creative moment; what carries it on.
“Sometimes when you are creating art you come up against a blog, and you get this little bit of affirmation that pushes it onto the next — it might be the colour of the pigment, the way the pigment is behaving, the way the brush stroke looks. [This show] is basically an ode to the creative process.”
Bright colours seem to characterize the majority of the abstract painter’s work, many of which almost leap off the canvas at the viewer.
Benjamin let her mood and mental state guide her as she was painting.
“Whatever head space I am in that is reflected in the painting. That expresses itself at times. Sometimes it would be an expanded kind of head space, where you feel light, and there would be these water colours that are really light and fast. With the oils, I call it a contracted style, because its like the medium itself: it’s thick on the brush, heavy.
“Sometimes with oil I find I fight it, whereas with water colour it’s expanded so you can do it fast, it is light and it is transparent so it reflects the moment. With oils it is a longer drawn out process.”
During some of the paintings, Benjamin said she was going through the end of a relationship, which may come across in the piece itself, others were more therapeutic for her, and during others she was able to be more free as she created.
“I just wanted to honour that sacred space that you go into when you are an artist, when you are creating because it is like the conscious mind communicating with the unconscious soul,” she said. “It’s just a sacred space that you go into. So these paintings there is not a theme, it is just whatever wants to come and express itself comes out and I let it.”
Benjamin said she hopes the show inspires people to think about the creative process, and not get too hung up on the end results.
“Every painting you do holds a value because it is reflecting what was going on inside the artist at that point of time.”
The artist currently lives just north of Williams Lake, though she immigrated to Nova Scotia from Germany, and has lived in many different locales during her life.
Her show runs at the Station House Gallery until the end of April.
“I’m hoping that people just see that each painting is in existence and it has a right to exist whether it is good or bad. Sometimes it is a struggle and sometimes it is magic.”
Read more about the Station House Gallery’s other April show: Light of Place Exposed