Amy Dryer in her studio

Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Kindrachuk, CTK Photography

This is another in our series that introduces new artists who will be joining Buckland Merrifield Gallery. While Amy is new to our gallery, her work is certainly known to those who follow the art scene in Saint John. Amy is based in Calgary but lived in Saint John for a period of time, and has certainly exhibited in this city before.

Amy received her art training at the Alberta College of Art & Design, The Glasgow School of Art and Mount Allison University. As she continues to develop her career as a significant Canadian artist, we are pleased that she has chosen to be represented in this region by our gallery when it opens this fall.

Amy and I have been corresponding throughout the summer as she has kept me informed about her current work, sending me images of paintings that she has been preparing for our gallery. The most recent correspondence concerns her newest painting, Windy Red.

Amy Dryer, Windy Red, oil on canvas, 28%22 x 44%22

Amy discussed her approach to this painting, and others she has produced in recent months.

“This summer has had me painting almost entirely in my backyard; the hot dry days welcomed me outdoors and I found myself getting up early in the morning while the light was still soft. I filled my home studio with canvases and material and allowed my muse to wash over me – the turquoise cruiser, my good friend’s bicycle.

Various subjects – chairs, canoes, now bicycles – often draw me in. These forms and shapes, when put together, represent something more than the combination of their parts. The bicycle – and particularly the cruiser – represents an innocence, a sense of personal adventure, a new orientation. Though I have not ridden a bike very much, I am drawn to the bicycle because it symbolizes the possibility of personal exploration.

And I have explored this bicycle from many angles. I have placed the bike under the dappled light of my backyard trees; I’ve put it in front of the garage/ home studio orange door; I’ve moved the bicycle into the garden. It gave me a way to delve into a personal landscape, the morning light in my backyard, the changing flowers and foliage of my garden, the evening shadows, the clover. Looking back over the summer this bicycle had me experience a sense of wonder in my own backyard.”

In Front of the Studio: Oil on canvas: 48%22x60%22: 2015

In Front of the Studio, oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″

Blue Evening: Oil on canvas: 48%22x48%22: 2015

Blue Evening, oil on canvas, 48″ x 48″

I wanted to know more about these strong gestural works. Amy talked about what the process of painting means to her.

“My gestural style – characteristic of German Expressionism – emphasizes the subjective expression of inner experiences. The truest picture of a moment – the figure of a place – occurs in a balanced abstraction of everyday perspectives. To convey this I combine line, form and colour to represent and yet slightly distort my subject matter. This creates a field of view that is both familiar and enigmatic.”

Visual Arts The Banff Centre 2013

Photograph courtesy of Banff Centre AB

I have always been interested in why artists are drawn to particular subjects. Are the objects chosen for their symbolic or metaphorical presence? Does an artist select an object due to the perception of its purely physical attractiveness? Or, is an object chosen for some deeply personal reason? Below are other current examples of Amy’s work. Look forward to these paintings on our gallery walls this fall.

Drift: Oil on canvas: 36%22x48%22: 2015

Drift, oil on canvas, 36″ x 48″

Midnight on the Lake: Oil on canvas: 36%22x60%22: 2015

Midnight on the Lake, oil on canvas, 36″ x 60″

Birch Bark: Oil on canvas: 30%22x40%22: 2015

Birch Bark, oil on canvas, 36″ x 40″