Great Silent Spaces: Jessalyn Forsythe, Hayley Ramsey, Danielle Timmers

Jessalyn Forsythe, "Still Life", oil on canvas, image courtesy the artist
Danielle Timmers, "Abalone", oil on canvas, image courtesy the artist
Hayley Ramsey, "Duality", oil on canvas, image courtesy the artist
March 18, 2017 - April 9, 2017

SDVA Exhibition
Great Silent Spaces: Jessalyn Forsythe, Hayley Ramsey, Danielle Timmers
March 18 to April 9, 2017
Molson Community Gallery
Curator: Emily McKibbon
Reception: Thursday March 23, 7 to 9 pm

“I am the great silent spaces between worlds,” Carl Sagan wrote as a student, loosely quoting 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal’s Pensées (1670). In awe at the immensity of the universe—its magnitude rendering stars as insignificant as dust—Sagan was hopeful that the sublime could become familiar to all of us.

The telescoping scale of the universe continues to be a source of artistic inspiration for students Jessalyn Forsythe, Hayley Ramsey and Danielle Timmers, all in their third and final year of study in the School of Design and Visual Arts at Georgian College. What unites their work is the shift in perspective that comes when a person’s sense of scale is fundamentally altered. Working through elements of the natural world, each student examines the “great silent spaces” we encounter—from the layered calcium deposits in abalone shells to the swirling weather patterns on Jupiter’s surface. Whether infinite or infinitesimal, the works here emphasize how we can experience both as immersive and awe-inspiring, reorienting our perspective on the world and its mysteries.

Jessalyn Forsythe’s work explores the experiential qualities of nature. Whether illustrating friends walking through the woods, or capturing tiny arrangement of twigs, Forsythe’s work is evocative of those moments when one’s attention is captured by nature and made fully present. This process of awakening to the current moment—known colloquially as flow—is central to the creative process itself.

Hayley Ramsey’s upbringing in Sudbury, a city marred by resource extraction, is evoked in her recent abstract work. Consumed by central, hazy forms, Ramsey’s paintings hint at moments of sublime transcendence. Ramsey plays with her distinctive palette of pure colours by rendering them strange and slightly dirty at the fringes, complicating notions of beauty and implicating human presence simultaneously.

Danielle Timmers plays with scale in her work, rendering the details of abalone and agate at the same size as interstellar phenomena. Her most recent work examines the natural process of crystallization, creating a series of paintings that suggest solar flares and the births of stars. Here Timmers mirrors the micro and macro, suggesting a sublime that occurs at every level of the natural world.