Stinson puts head and heart into art

The 18” Journey exhibition runs until March 4 at MacDonald Island

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Local multidisciplinary artist Erin Stinson speaks to the crowd of guests at the open reception of her first solo exhibition: The 18” Journey on February 5. PHOTO: Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Local multidisciplinary artist Erin Stinson speaks to the crowd of guests at the open reception of her first solo exhibition: The 18” Journey on February 5. PHOTO: Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Local multidisciplinary artist Erin Stinson brought friends and fans to the MacDonald Island Community Art Gallery for the opening reception of her first solo exhibition – The 18” Journey – on February 5.

It was an emotional evening for Stinson, as she ‘poured her heart out’ and had 18 months of her life, self-compiled into artistic creations, placed on display for all to see.

“I’ve been on this journey for a long time… Over the past year and a half, I’ve devoted my artistic practice to this theme.”

“I’m humbled and incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to show this body of work with you. Our Fort McMurray art community, and particularly this gallery, have been a tremendous blessing to me. To have Theresa (Wells, Communications Coordinator of Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo) and Ana Maria (Mendez-Barks, Culture Coordinator at MacDonald Island Park) here tonight means a great deal. Each of these women have had a special role in my artistic journey,” Stinson said to the crowded gallery, letting out tears. “I’ve been on this journey for a long time… Over the past year and a half, I’ve devoted my artistic practice to this theme.”

Stinson explained The 18” Journey exhibition is the result of her exploring the disconnected space between intellect and emotion (the head and the heart).

She quoted an unknown author saying: “The longest journey a man must take is the 18 inches between his head and his heart.”

“Because for me, the head and the heart are two things that can change all the time. How you feel can be sometimes fine – focused and clear. And then other times, you’re just totally wild with your feelings. What I wanted to do is make sure that, in every piece, I created how I felt and was not compelled to do it.”

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One of Erin Stinson’s mixed media creations titled: “Wild and Free” on sale at the exhibit. PHOTO: Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Each piece from her collection is extraordinary with a wide variety of paintings, photography, sculptures, mixed media and poetry.

“It was really intentional for me to create however I felt,” explained Stinson. “Because for me, the head and the heart are two things that can change all the time. How you feel can be sometimes fine – focused and clear. And then other times, you’re just totally wild with your feelings. What I wanted to do is make sure that, in every piece, I created how I felt and was not compelled to do it.”

Local residents also joined Stinson on February 7 for a collaborated workshop with NorthWord magazine, where guests enjoyed an afternoon of creative writing. One year earlier, Stinson was the cover artist for NorthWord’s 13th edition, which was themed: “Surprise” and guest edited by Russell Thomas.

“The reason that NorthWord was created was to support local artists, to give them a venue by which the rest of the world can be exposed to their art,” said McGladdery.

President of Northern Canada Collective Society for Writers (NCCSW) Susanne McGladdery said it was a pleasure to take part in Stinson’s gallery.

“The reason that NorthWord was created was to support local artists, to give them a venue by which the rest of the world can be exposed to their art,” said McGladdery. “One of the things NorthWord has been able to do is provide a venue where artists can present their creations, and the public can see it.  The public can react to it, appreciate it, take it into themselves and become richer for it. Collaborating with Studio Stinson means that we’re enabling artists and the public to come together to enrich each other.”

NCCSW is a local non-profit that published and distributes the publication. This workshop was able to inspire submissions for the 15th edition, which will be guest edited by Theresa Wells. The theme for Wells’ edition is “Climbing the Mountain.” Deadline for submissions is March 31 and can be sent to northword@hushmail.com.

The 18” Journey exhibition runs until March 4 with gallery tours scheduled in 45 minute sessions with Stinson on February 16 and March 2. Guests are encouraged to bring their lunches and walk through the gallery with her. Also, a watercolour and collage workshop will be held on February 27.

Learn more about the artist on her Studio Stinson website at www.studiostinson.com.

– Connect Weekly –