Photograph by Natalie Austin
Artist Rowena Dykins swims in colour. She has immersed herself in the abstractions of colour. All the senses are evoked by her colourfields; there is a fragrance to her reds, a softness underfoot to her greens, her blues widen the eyes and her yellows are birdsong. The tangibility to her paintings is a reaching out to gather towards oneself great bushels of colour and inhale the sweet denseness of the world in all of its allness.
For her latest exhibit, (part of the Iris Group presentation FILMIC at the Station Gallery in Whitby, Ont.), Dykins has plunged arms deep into the mysteries of the primordial soup, the primary soup, to swipe away the oily membranes which glint and sparkle, and in the cupped stillness see microscopic beginnings of life flipper their way across the surface.
Dykins, along with Margaret Rodgers, Sally Turlow, Laura Hair, Mary Ellen McQuay, Wendy Wallace, Janice Taylor Prebble, Holly McClellan, Judith Mason are the artists tasked with creating pieces with all things related to film as the thematic connector. The exhibit runs May 23 to July 5 and is curated by Olexander Wlasenko.
In FILMIC, Peterborough-based Dykins has chosen to use strips of movie film to represent the building blocks of life; the mitochondria, that spills one life one way and another the other. For Dykins, the spiralling double helix of DNA is akin to two entwined strands of film, Kodachrome chromosomes so to speak. The media of film imitates the movements and patterns of Nature.
Photograph by Natalie Austin
Humanity continues to imitate, building an online world using Nature’s patterns and networks as template. Cities of information are growing up along the channels of information. The screen becomes those cupped hands creating a moment of stillness, a pause to see the bits and bytes kick-flip their way past. As God electrified Life in Michelangelo’s the Creation of Adam, so too does our index finger electrify these bytes with a touch. We are Power and our touch surges through history and art and media creating the swirling luminosity of Van Gogh’s starry starry nights (the sky is not solid colour but a thousand points of lights), creating the fragmented women of Picasso, breaking form into facets and on into the dance of light and colour of abstractions. It is the energy of colour that touched the very core of Dykins and electrified her life’s work. A life’s work that is documented in paint.
Rowena Dykins; Riparian Exhibit - Art Gallery of Peterborough
But others document and archive their lifeline in strips and snaps. As we move forward into the online world, our DNA is coded from intertwining digital flows of Selfies and Instagrams. Dykins is painting using not the medium of film but the message. Her three pieces in FILMIC capture the future.
Our future, our children, grandchildren and their descendants will not look for us in the physical world but online. Like Dykins they will plunge arms deep into the passing stream, but not of water but of data, and from the alphabet soup they will gather up handfuls to see the seeds of life. They will find not flip-kicking microbes but the stills and clips, of a digital life lived, swimmingly in the infinite interplay of the Reds Greens and Blues pixelfields of cyberspace.