Kristin Charleton & Sarah Northcott
January 31 - March 4, 2017
Opening reception: Friday February 3, 7-9pm
Kristin Charleton and Sarah Northcott have in many ways been living parallel lives. Born one week apart on Vancouver’s North Shore, both artists developed their craft as a way to connect with their surrounding ecology. Kristin and Sarah met just over a year ago in Smithers and were happily surprised to find that they share similar creative visions - Kristin through photography and Sarah through painting. Inspired by the natural world, their techniques and experimental process are a way for them to interpret rather than just illustrate or document. Their combined work shows a simplicity that takes the viewer past the noise of everyday landscapes and shows us the extraordinary in the ordinary.
My strongest sense is that of light. Each and every day I am aware of how the light moves across our landscape, our walls, and our faces. This awareness leads to my photographic process of painting with light, simplifying colours and the movement of light in the landscape around us. For me, photography helps to clarify my understanding and interpretation of each moment by acting as an agent for heightened perception; it is a way to engage and focus in an almost meditative act.
Photography seems to have always been there for me. I started shooting in high school, carrying my camera along during my teenage explorations. After high school I attended Simon Fraser University, completing a BSc in Biology. At this point I began working as a biologist throughout Oregon, Hawaii, and British Columbia before cycling through Canada. At the end of this long journey I decided to move to New Zealand where I studied seabirds and wildlife management to earn a master’s degree in science. Back in British Columbia I moved to a small island in the middle of Georgia Strait, spending twelve years homesteading off the grid with my partner and having two children. In 2015, we moved to Smithers to enjoy rivers, mountains, and ice. I now work full time as a wildlife biologist and spend my spare time documenting the natural landscape through abstract imagery.
“You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.”
Art has always been my refuge; it both challenges me and gives me great satisfaction. Being creative connects me to my ancestors who were sculptors and painters. Their creations filled my childhood home; I can’t help but feel it in my bones.
Growing up in a stunning landscape of ocean and forests, the natural world continues to inspire me. I often use my photography as a starting point for ideas. For six years I have been experimenting with polymer. I have a vision but there is spontaneity with the pouring of gel over acrylics and the painting evolves as the glue takes on a life of its own. Using paint to hide as well as accentuate exposed layers underneath keeps me excited throughout the process. I know work is going well when time becomes timeless. Although my pieces vary in content from simple tree forms to landscapes or abstracts, they are all inspired by nature and use this same experimental process.
Showing my work is daunting as it is a very personal process; however, I am curious about how my art resonates with people. This work is a moment in a journey of constant learning and discovery.