Solo Exhibition 2017

Vernon Public Art Gallery, BC, Canada


Artist Statement for Stellar

VPAG Exhibition July 27 – November 1, 2017

The body of paintings in this exhibition marks a shift in my painting practice. I am primarily a representational landscape painter, with forays into abstraction; this is a departure into deep space – in particular nebula and stars. My research for these paintings have been a combination of photographs captured by the Hubble Telescope, as well as my own interpretation of imagery and ideas sourced from science based books and information on the internet. What launched me into the cosmos was the final painting I made during an Artist-in-Residence project (2015).

The painting from the project entitled, Where there are no Edges?, was painted from the perspective of looking back from space over the curvature of a cloud scattered earth. It was a question into nature and the nature of our human existence. What is our universal purpose? Where are our beginnings and endings? What do we embody? According to scientists’ discoveries we are star stuff, made of cosmic dust.

Astronomers report stars are born when the pull of gravity contracts and collapses vast clouds of dust and gas - hydrogen and helium. The cycle repeats itself once a star explodes and dies, creating more interstellar gas and dust. Like a circle, that unending form which is one of the two strong shapes dominating this work; the other being the square shape of the canvas which is symbolic of the rational and the physical elements. The circle and the square paired suggest the spiritual and material, or heaven and earth.

When we see bright, twinkling dots of lights that shine bright through the darkness over unfathomable distances we are actually witnessing the past meeting the present.

Physicist, David Peat, writes in his essay, Synchronicity: The Speculum of Inscape and Landscape:
…all that exists is the present, for the present is the given of our experience. It is only from within the present that one can discover and unfold the past - as Marcel Proust well understood. And from within the present one can explore those tendencies and patterns that may lead into the future. (

For me, it’s about being present in nature, while painting, while living life’s mysteries. It’s about being curious; being ok with not knowing; being open to learning and considering different perspectives, possibilities and making new discoveries. It’s about making connections. It’s why I paint.

Destanne Norris,
June 16, 2017