Becoming: Nora MacNay, Wendy Reid

March 17, 2018 – April 8, 2018
Nora MacNay, Nevermore, 2017, woodblock and gold leaf on japanese paper, 20 x 36
Georgian College DVA Exhibition
Becoming: Nora MacNay, Wendy Reid
March 17 to April 8, 2018
Molson Community Gallery
Curator: Renée van der Avoird
Reception: Thursday March 29, 7 to 9 pm

Becoming brings together work by Nora MacNay and Wendy Reid, third-year students in Design and Visual Arts at Georgian College. In their respective practices, each artist examines the dualities between inner states and the human condition. The works presented here are at once deeply personal and widely relatable, as they draw on the artists’ individual experiences to illustrate shifting states of identity as well as the implications and stigmatization of mental and physical illness.

Nora MacNay’s lithographs, such as Eye of the Beholder and Nevermore, are inspired by classic fairy tales and childhood memories. With deft formal ability, the artist depicts ravens, crows and a pig that are inspired by visits to her grandparents’ farm. An uncanny timelessness permeates these vignettes that comment on notions of beauty, femininity and power, revealing both a sense of innocence and foreboding. Her ink-and-watercolour portraits The Me Inside of Me and Falling Deeper and Deeper are windows onto the way mental illness can pervade one’s life. The comfort and sanctuary normally associated with one’s bed are subverted by a sense of anguish and anxiety, amplified by MacNay’s agitated and raw drawing style.

Like MacNay, Wendy Reid takes inspiration from her personal life, employing the human body as a central motif. In her abstracted plaster portraits, she references spirituality, personal hardship and illness through surprising formal interventions. The heads, fragmented and folded in on themselves, evoke sentiments of disjuncture and transformation. For Reid, who is also a nurse, the process of artmaking is therapeutic. In her large-scale painting, Action, the body is evoked through the physicality of the paint across the large canvas, a dynamic, meditative action of pouring and spattering. The two mixed-media drawings from her Becoming series depict a body in transformation: by embracing the liquid movement of paint, Reid camouflages an abstracted female figure with natural rills and pools of pigment.