Exhibition Essay for MUTUAL



Vancouver-based painter Christine Breakell-Lee intuitively, free-floating, as if her abstracted canvases with their drifting spools of colour are the immediate manifestation of her daily thoughts and emotions. The painter as soul bearer with no second guessing.She doesn’t come at her work with any plans or pre-expectations but just lets her mind and brush float through this empty space until something wondrous emerges.  It’s hard to be that immediate, that vulnerable and that daring all in one go. Beautiful work.



Exhibition Essay for MUTUAL

In Mutual, Tanya Slingsby and Christine Breakell-Lee – who both work out of a joined studio space in the historic 1000 Parker building – engage in a shared creative conversation about the intersection between the personal and transcendental potential in abstract art. Each has her own loyalties and influences and way of communicating the visual language of abstraction. But Slingsby and Breakell-Lee are equally determined to express abstract art’s fundamental power to provoke memory and emotion and enhance our awareness of the primal energies still contained in forms and colours and the spatial relationships between them. The exhibition is potent and intriguing and expressively beautiful. 


For Breakell-Lee, her paintings serve as visual explorations of her moods and curiousities over the course of a single day as if a colourful diary of private dramas. Each piece is approached intuitively, without prior planning, which allows her the freedom to act “without rules”. Preferring not to use brushes, Breakell-Lee works mostly with her hands and fingers which lends the work a more tactile intimacy. Her mark-making is instinctual, a tangled tussle of feelings and memories that matter to her. In the blooms and drifts of her lush shifting colours, their openness and breathing sense of expansion, Breakell-Lee is evidencing her own emotional experiences and allowing the sensuality of her awareness to break through. Her work feels cathartic, lyrical and alluring. By leaving parts of the wood surface exposed so the raw element of the grain comes through, she reveals the authentic truth of her materials. But the smooth top coat of resin encases each piece as if a nostalgic relic, the wonder sealed in. 


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