A painting doesn’t need to have solid objects to convey a story or fill the viewer with emotion.
That’s a theory embedded into Heidi Thompson’s exhibition of work called The Light Within You, for which an opening reception is held Jan. 10 from 6-8 p.m.
Thompson, a Vernon-born and raised artist, has been working with this blend of abstract expressionism and colour field paintings, which she refers to as energy field painting, since 2010. At times vibrant and at times textured monochromatic fields of view, Thompson seeks to evoke memories through her abstract art form.
“There’s this moment of being in the situation and comparing it to your past,” Thompson said. “It’s more about experience — not a heady experience, not an intellectual experience, but a felt experience.”
Comprised of six monochromatic and six multi-coloured paintings, The Light Within You fills the walls of the Vernon Public Art Gallery alongside two other exhibitions – Meghan Krauss’ Observer Observed and Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective’s Decolonizing Our Table: Indigenous Food Sovereignty.
“Heidi Thompson’s exhibition titled The Light Within You is an expression of her focus on spiritual values and experiences, which she offers to the viewers to consider,” said Lubos Cullen, curator. “The paintings in the exhibition are the juxtapositions of a quiet but vibrant existence over the fast-paced contemporary society and the information overload.”
Thompson believes that viewers will all see each painting through a different light.
“When we see something we love or feel connected to it, it must be mirroring something inside of us. There must be something in us we describe as light,” Thompson said. “The other thing that’s really important to me is to stay away from the imagination. I’m hoping to bring people into the now. They get a little experience of the unknown, something new.”
Arranged to allow space for quiet contemplation, Thompson’s exhibition features only large-scale works crafted using paintbrushes to drip paint onto a canvas.
“This is the absolute ideal pace for what I was to do,” Thompson said as she stood in the centre of the gallery surrounded by her paintings. “This is really special for me. It means a lot to have it here.”
The Light Within You marks Thompson’s return to exhibiting at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. She had previously exhibited at the gallery in the late 1980s when it was known as the Topham Brown Public Art Gallery.
To coincide with her exhibition, Thompson will be in attendance at the Jan. 10 opening reception. An artist talk dubbed Breathe In – Breathe Art is Saturday, Feb. 2 from 1-2 p.m. where Thompson will discuss her creative process as well as introduce breath awareness – an ancient attention-developing technique.
“Breath awareness not only helps to awaken creativity but can improve mental health focus and emotional well-being,” she said. “Breathe In – Breathe Art will interest people who want to know more about abstract painting and who would like to experience how the breath and mind play a role in art.”
All three current exhibitions – The Light Within You, Decolonizing Our Table: Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Observer Observed – are on display until March 6.