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Dancing with Colour

Dancing with Colour Dominique Prevost & Sharon Dembo

by Lex Barrie 

There is a contrast of motion, tone and exuberant detailing in Propeller’s current exhibitions: CIRCLES by Dominique Prevost and IN MOTION by Sharon Dembo. 

Through the use of the suminagashi marbling technique, watercolour and ink drawing, Dominique displays a colourful collection of circular arrangements. Meanwhile, Sharon presents an expressionist inspired series of playful pastel colours, reflecting the movements of dance. Though seemingly different by definition, one has to understand how both Dominique and Sharon showcase their individualistic approaches to balancing expressionism with patterns. 

Circles

CIRCLES was created in a “state of grace”, as Dominique describes, through the continuous process of marbling a series of papers in an old photography tray filled with water. The meditative practice of creating her profoundly mesmerising circles begins with water, paper and of course, inks in varying colours. The papers collect the inks moved around in the tray to enforce continuous movement of the colours, thus providing textures and layers. The finished papers are then cut and placed in their arrangements, much like adding finishing pieces to a puzzle, on painted wood cradles.

Reflecting on the process of making her patterns, Dominique states that it starts off structured and regimented. Over time, a freedom is revealed evidenced by the motions of her work. 

“Think of it like a ballerina preparing for a dance, you need to learn the steps before you can allow yourself to feel the freedom of the movement.”

Dominique Prevost 

Dominique’s love of bright colours started in her youth, as she remembers a family friend from New Mexico once giving her hand-me-down clothing of bright pastels and deep tones. They were always a favourite gift and a fond memory. 

Though playing with colour is a fascinating practice for Dominique, she says her main goal is to create connections, both in people and in ideas. Her works for CIRCLES are purposefully left to the interpretation of the viewers. Perhaps you will see a planet, a vinyl, a disk or even a musical composition? Dominique has no one way of exploring her works and she always loves to hear a new perspective! 

So however you experience CIRCLES, Dominique’s pieces reflect ever-changing, non-static intricate lines and colour combinations to dazzle and create admiration in all who see it.

IN MOTION

IN MOTION uses a similar playful colour-palette which reflects Sharon’s background in child psychotherapy. Her colour choices were made in consideration of an innocent nature with lighter tones, but still leaving room for joyousness. 

“Playing is both a serious investigation as well as a pleasurable and whimsical exploration. With  IN MOTION, I begin with a basic image, like the clothes or the dressmaking model and then build on to them, layers of colours and strokes. I love colour.”

Sharon Dembo

Sharon appreciates a sense of immediacy and intensity in her art-making which plays a role in her works for IN MOTION. In the past, Sharon enjoyed “Plein air” landscape painting, reflecting nature’s wonders while being the centre of it all. In this exhibition, we see the same sense of immediacy through her presentation of dance and movement. Her works reflect a sensation similar to that of being in a dance studio. Dancing is a hobby of Sharon’s, therefore, with a background of experience, she was able to captivate the motions of many bodies performing many steps. With the new work of IN MOTION, Sharon uses clothes and even the inanimate object of a metal dress form to express the idea of movement.

Last year, Sharon purchased a metal mannequin to create a dress out of a heritage Japanese paper called Washi, in preparation for the group show called WASHI SISTERS, using Washi paper to create 3-dimensional forms. She has been working on these life-size dresses which will hang in the gallery to represent dance. The exhibition will be at Propeller in October 2022. However, for IN MOTION, Sharon’s focus shifted to encaustic printmaking with the use of a Hot Box. Sharon printed inked papers of the mannequin in a variety of positions and layered them multiple times with coloured wax paints until she achieved the desired effect. Four of the works in IN MOTION were created using Washi paper with these types of ink prints combined with wax paints. 

Much like Dominique’s CIRCLES, there is a sense of connectedness associated with the making and final products of IN MOTION. Sharon describes her inspirational awakening felt through the movements of dance in creating her sculptural forms. As Sharon represents this association of dancing connecting people, one could also view each piece of IN MOTION as a theatrical, colourful play meant to bring about a merry interrelation of perspectives among LLP viewers. 

IN MOTION is both a captivating performance and a series of joyful scenes, in which animated “characters” flow between scenes, roaming freely throughout Sharon’s exhibition. 

On until March 6, 2022

Viewing both exhibitions will enlighten your senses and fuel your minds, as they explore contrasting and yet still balanced themes and characteristics of free-flowing and effortless movement. 

Don’t miss your chance to see both IN MOTION and CIRCLES now, online or in-person at Propeller Art Gallery, until March 6th. 

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